Millions of stray dogs live on the streets of India. Most are direct descendants of their feral canine ancestors, With the recent increase in popularity among Indians of full breed dogs, more and more street dogs are abandoned pets or have bred with pet breeds.
Although they are widely feared because some carry rabies, for the most part India’s street dogs are non aggressive and will only bite if provoked. Indeed, many are fearful of humans. Sadly, their fear is well founded.
India’s street dog population is closely associated with municipal sanitation practices – or neglect thereof. Because these homeless dogs often survive by scavenging rubbish, exposed garbage means more healthy dogs – and more puppies. Ironically, this actually makes the dogs a boon to public sanitation. By scavenging garbage, they reduce perishable waste that could otherwise be a source of contamination for people. And their presence around garbage keeps away other potentially dangerous scavengers, such as rats and mice, that pose a threat to public health.