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Kerala tourists bat for dog shelters

Kerala tourists bat for dog shelters
A foreign tourist surrounded by stray dogs in Fort Kochi. (Photo: DC FILE)

Kochi: The tourism sector in the state too is shocked by the incident in which a woman was gored to death by street dogs at Pulluvila in Thiruvananthapuram, Tourist guides and cultural interpreters say that we need to tackle our waste especially slaughter house waste properly so as to rein in the stray dog population. On the other hand tourists say that there should be agencies to take care of stray dogs. According to Ms Ulla Hallond from Germany who visited Fort Kochi, orphanages can be set up to take care of stray dogs and NGOs can undertake a role in this.

“I always wondered when the houses in Kerala are so clean when  the streets are not. Don’t you have proper mechanisms to take care of slaughter house waste on which the stray dogs feast,” she said. Mr Rajesh P R, a Government of India approved tourist guide, says that foreigners would object if we go on a massive killing spree of stray dogs. “They believe in proper rehabilitation and sterilization to bring down the population. One tourist was impressed to see dogs being given a prominent position at Parasinikkadavu Muthappan temple,” he says.

Cultural interpreter for foreign tourists, Mr Shagzil Khan from Kochi says that backpackers are more exposed to stray dog threat and tourists in groups always have an interpreter or guide to take care of them. “Many tourists are aware of the realities like stray dog menace here and visit in spite of that. Those from the West are dog lovers and hence they don’t accept culling. Sterilisation is what they prefer. We have to secure our beaches as a priority,” he says.

Ms Marion Hoyes, Transport planner with CODATU, an NGO from France working for Kochi Metro, says that she has not so far faced any problem from strays. “What happened the other day is an isolated incident. Back home, NGOs rehabilitate stray dogs and from their custody, dog lovers buy them and make them pets also. It can be practiced here,” she says.