Stray Buddy

A step-wise strategy

Do you already have experience with sterilising and vaccinating strays? Are you feeding community dogs? Depending on the situation in your colony, Stray Buddy provides tips and resources.

There is no “Quick Fix Solution” to stray dogs...

Dogs were domesticated by humans about 20,000-40,000 years ago: wherever there are people there are dogs. Attempts in India to completely rid territories of stray dogs, or ‘throwing away’ or harming their pups, are not only illegal but also never had the desired effect. Vacated territories are vacuums and are always taken up by other dogs – there are simply too many of them. The cycle continues, unless… 

To break this cycle, the only scientific way – as promoted by the World Health Organisation – is to systematically “domesticate” a few stray dogs living in your area and get them sterilized and vaccinated. These dogs will not only guard your area from other dogs (and monkeys) which may be rabid or unsterilised but also keep pests and rodents under control. The stray dog population in your community will be stable and slowly reduces.

Our practical step-wise approach yielded results!

In 2017, the Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) in our colony created a committee to manage the stray dogs. We developed a systematic and methodical step-wise approach to control the dog population and reduce nuisance for residents. Prevention of harm to humans and animals was the main goal. Currently our colony is puppy-free and rabies free. We are now jointly working to become litter-/poop-free and animal cruelty-free.

The following steps are being followed:
  1. Map and identify stray dogs and their caregivers (keep records).
  2. Feed dogs in designated areas and without littering the area.
  3. Sterilise all community stray dogs (male and female).
  4. Vaccinate strays annually, deworm them quarterly and take care of their medical needs. 
  5. Raise awareness with youth and other residents on dos and don’ts to avoid confrontations and humanely deal with dogs that show problematic behaviour.

The steps are logical but not necessarily sequential: you may step in at any point depending on the priorities in your local area. Just make sure to map the strays and their caretakers first and keep records uptodate.

Our approach has been to involve all stakeholders including the Residents’ Welfare Association, Animal Welfare Board of India, NGOs, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, police and residents (even from neighboring blocks) to take coordinated and collective action.

Get Started

Create a group of caretakers and others. Agree on a strategy to manage your community dogs, following the steps as promoted by Stray Buddy. 

Create your own stray dog management group

Feeding and taking care of stray dogs is often divided over different people who do not always inform each other. Some dogs are getting well fed, others get neglected. And how do you know if a stray dog has been vaccinated against rabies?

It is helpful to coordinate with others

How to start a group?

Create a chat group for caregivers  If you know anyone in your colony who is feeding and taking care of one or more dogs, ask them to join your group on Whatsapp (or Telegram or Signal) for easy coordination and communication. The guards, shop keepers, presswalla or chaiwalla in your colony can probably help you to identify other caregivers.

Focus on your own locality – Agree that your chat group will focus on managing strays in your colony only. It is not meant for adoptions and rescues of animals outside of your colony; although this is also important, there are many other groups on social media for that purpose.

Strategize, plan & formalise

Discuss how human-canine conflicts are two sides of the same coin: the human-side and the dog-side. A balanced approach requires genuine efforts to find solutions addressing both sides.

Stray Buddy’s stepwise strategy gives guidance how to do this. Agree which step has highest priority in your colony to start with. Get your strategy adopted by your RWA in an annual general members meeting, if possible. Or simply start working on positive actions with your group members.

Download a template for your strategic plan, which you can customise.

Brainstorm with your group/committee members (on video call if not in person) to make an activity plan and budget estimate for the next 3-6 months. 

The FIRST activity for every group should be to identify ALL strays residing in your area and their caregivers and make a complete list.

See Resources for an activity plan template and tools to create dog records in a fun and interactive way.

Every Residents’ Welfare Association (RWA) needs to establish an Animal Welfare Committee according to the Delhi High Court. If this is not yet done, request your RWA to constitute the committee, and nominate members of your group

If your RWA is not cooperative, you could carry out the activities of your group in collaboration with one of the animal welfare NGOs in your city instead. Or get in touch with the Animal Welfare Board of India.

See Resources for a consent form template to nominate committee members.