The Curious Case of the Missing Dogs in the Night-time
Over the course of the last few months a disturbing occurrence has been noticed in the streets of Calcutta. A sharp decline in the stray dog population in certain portions of the city, specifically with dogs that are more often than not taken care of by the community, has begun to make itself known. Strangely enough, there have been no records of any canine illnesses in these localities or even large scale anti-dog sentiments that would normally prompt culling or removal, yet the disappearances have persisted. So far there has been no concrete identification of the culprits responsible for these turn of events.
As of four years ago, there were six dogs at Gopalnagar bus stop (disappearance around two years back), six dogs around Alipore Thana, five at the corner of Horticulture Gardens, three dogs at Hastings Park Road and three on Judge’s Court Road. Currently there are none at any of these locations. A local driver stated that a blue colored van came late at night to pick them. Again there has still been no intimation in regards to this individual/s carrying out these kidnappings. Three dogs have also gone missing from Golf Gardens/ Golf Club crossing, from near the SBI complex – One sterilized female and two male puppies (healthy). The dogs left are unsterilized and unhealthy looking. Even as far as Colony More, Barasat, there are six dogs missing from mid-June. Local pavement dwellers said they were picked up by a van around midnight.
Fakirpara Road, Behala – Brown puppy missing. No timeline. No dates. Just missing one fine morning. A black female puppy has been missing from Convent Park for the last two weeks. Two dogs at Creek Row and four dogs at Deshapriya Park More have disappeared as well. In total, nearly 40 recorded cases of dogs disappearing across the city and its outskirts have been reported. It is unknown currently, however, as to how many undocumented cases of missing dogs are actually there.
As mentioned before the perpetrators of these kidnappings have yet to be found or identified. So far there have only been reports of vans (non-KMC affiliated) that have been coming to localities in the dead of night and abducting dogs. In 2013, KMC did a clean up drive in the city where they picked up a lot of strays. A few Animal Rights Activists used this incident to file an RTI demanding to know where they were taking the dogs, because Dhapa doesn’t have the ininfrastructure or space to deal with too many dogs. The case is still pending.
In addition there are reports of a brother-sister duo that go by the name of Ashiman (one of many aliases used by the duo), who have a reputation for picking up any dog from anywhere at anytime, specifically for the dog meat industry. They are known to operate out of Karunagunj, and will take jobs once money is paid upfront.
The situation is terrifying at best, horrific at worst. Hence it is paramount that any and all cases should be documented carefully, and hopefully the perpetrators of these crimes can be made known and eventually brought to task.
If you have any information in regards to dogs missing in your localities and/or other parts of the city, and/or know people who have information on the same, please feel free to contact either Atrei Chatterjee (+919836429467)
It’s A Dog’s Life is an initiative started by two school girls, Avantika and Anushka, whose aim and focus is to completely eradicate the presence of unhappy dogs by spaying, neutering and handling the welfare of the present population in Calcutta. Further information and contacts may be found here.
Article by Siddharth Sinha