Respected Sir / Ma’am,
This submission is in regard to the deplorable and miserable condition of the
street dogs kept by the Municipal Corporation in a dog shelter in Shimla under the directive of the
High Court of Himachal Pradesh, passed in 2010. I would like to bring to your notice the following
few facts I’ve noticed over a period of 6 months:
1. Way back on 1st October,2011 I visited the dog shelter located in Bagh in Shimla, run by the
M.C. and found that over 50 dogs were huddled up in 2 enclosures while 8 other enclosures
were lying empty. I verbally requested the caretaker (who was initially absent from the
shelter even at working hours and had to be called from home) to space them out into the
vacant enclosures. I have attached the relevant photographs, which will be followed by
photographs taken on 3rd March 2012 to highlight not only the dwindling numbers but also
the deterioration in the condition of these innocent animals brought about by the
carelessness of the caretaker, the nonchalance of the veterinary doctors in charge of the
shelter and the negligence of the Municipal authorities.
There were about 40, relatively healthy dogs in this enclosure on 21 st Oct. 2011; Overcrowded,
underfed and neglected. I requested the caretaker to space these territorial beings out into the
vacant shelters and realized 6 months later that not only did he ignore my request, but also the
well being of the dogs he is being paid to take care of.
The second shed housed about 15 healthy dogs...look at them carefully because in the photos
to come you will not even be able to recognize them.
Here you can see how and what they are given to eat...but I am not surprised by this lemon and
biryani luncheon for them anymore because recently I saw one of the starved dogs at the shelter
eating radish, onions and orange peels driven by hunger.
This is the van in which dogs are transported; sometimes even up to 4-5 adult dogs are cramped
up in it, not to mention that its sanitary condition is appalling.
2. I revisited the shelter on the 3rd of March, 2012 and the caretaker had to be called from his
house once again. I was pained to see that only 16 dogs were left, huddled up in one
enclosure, all of whom not only got inflicted with scabies/mange but also seemed starved.
They seemed deprived of food, medical treatment, living space and protection from extreme
weather condition, which, I believe, is not in compliance with the Prevention of Cruelty
against Animals Act, 1960. The sanitary condition of the shelter was extremely appalling. The
enclosures had probably never been cleaned. I was shocked to see 2 dog carcasses; one in a
garbage dumper outside the shelter and the other inside a shed in that very enclosure which
had housed about 40 dogs in October...now being home only to one dog carcass.
The last two pictures show decaying carcasses which had not been disposed off properly. In
fact the caretaker did not even know about one.
On questioning the caretaker about all this I got quite a few interesting answers:
What happened to the rest of the dogs?
-Maine suna hai yaha koi jaanvar ata hai [I have heard that some animal comes here
at night...he probably was referring to a leopard ]
How come all the dogs caught scabies?
-Pata nahi ji...ek ko hui to baki ko use ho gayi hogi[I don’t know..probablyone mst
have been affected and the rest of them must have contracted it from him]
Why do they seem starved? –no answer
Why is he food sent for them decaying outside the shelter while the dogs inside are
dying from hunger? –no answer
Why did the veterinary doctor in charge of the shelter fail to segregate the diseased
dog and treat it so that the rest could have been saved? –no answer
Where are the rest of the dogs? –no answer
Why are the dog carcasses still lying here? –no answer
When was the last time the veterinary doctor in charge came to see these dogs,
leave aside treatment? –no answer
3. Thereafter I spoke to a doctor who was responsible for the treatment of those dogs, who
told me that the shelter was intended to house 500 dogs so they were merely experimenting
if so many dogs could kept together or not. Was all this experimentation worth the lives of
so many innocent dogs? Worth the suffering they were subjected to for so long? His
nonchalance about the issue was enough to deduce why those dogs had been allowed to
suffer till they were mere skeletons lying around waiting for death.
4. Finally I approached the Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, who initially tried to
refute the whole matter, then tried to wash his hands off it and when I offered to show him
photographs as proof of what I said he merely called up the veterinary doctor in charge to
“look into the matter” and told me he didn’t have time for this. He also informed me that
they had invited N.G.Os to take over the functioning of the shelter but none responded,
which, in my opinion, is not a valid reason or excuse for them to give those dogs such cruel
and slow death.
5. On visiting the shelter on the 7th of March I found the caretaker missing again. Out of those
16 dogs 10 had been shifted to the M.C’s veterinary hospital for treatment; however 6 dogs
were still there, out of which 5 were in a critical condition. I called up the caretaker who told
me that in one go they could take only 2-3 dogs. When the petrol charges are being paid by
the M.C. and so is his salary couldn’t he have made 3-4 trips a day so that all of them could
be saved? The very next day a friend of mine who had gone to the shelter o feed the dogs
told me that two out of the 6 dogs that had been left behind had died. In addition to this I
would also like to point out that after literally killing so many dogs the M.C. has now shifted
dogs that they had operated under the Animal Birth Control program to that very shelter
and the dogs suffering from scabies have again been kept with the unaffected ones. They
claim to have injected those dogs with medicines but ideally they should be kept under
treatment and away from the unaffected ones till they are free of disease. In addition to
this, the guidelines of the program make it mandatory for the dogs to be released where
they were picked up from, hence sending them to the shelter instead is not in compliance
with the guidelines.
The dogs in the last two pictures died on the 8th of March despite the fact that I had been
requesting the authorities to treat them since the 3rd of March.
6. The shelter intends to house 500 dogs whereas not even 16 are being kept properly.
7. The ruling under which the dogs are being captured n kept captive there was passed after a
child was bit by street dogs in Shimla in 2010. It is understandable to keep aggressive dogs in
the shelter as they may pose a threat to humans. However only the friendly, innocent dogs
who are allured by food offered by the dog catchers, end up being caught and tortured.
You can find more information, photographs and a video documentary regarding this horrific
state of affairs in the dog shelter on the following links:
I seek your kind and early intervention to save the lives of the 14 unfortunate dogs you can
see in the pictures and also to prevent this from happening to the dogs which have recently
been shifted to the shelter. Kindly ensure that either the dogs are left free to fend for
themselves after they have been adequately immunized, or they are provided proper food,
medical attention, living conditions and ethical treatment.
Further you are requested to make sure that the funds granted/received/allocated for the
dogs and the shelter are used only for the earmarked purpose and that everyone concerned
with this program be it the dog catchers, driver, caretaker or the veterinary doctors fulfil
their duties sincerely.
Hoping for an early kind intervention please.
Dr. Vibhuti Sharda.