City anchor: Rush of applicants for ID-cards to feed stray dogs in city

For those trying to feed stray dogs but are pestered by people fearing their act of kindness may attract more dogs to their locality, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had come up with the idea of issuing ID-cards to facilitate their task. Within six days of collection of application forms for ID-cards, the number of applicants touched 500.

Manoj Oswal, honorary secretary of People for Animals, (Pune unit), and co-ordinator for collection of application forms in Pune, said that so far 500 applications have come in.

"There are eight volunteers for collecting forms. It has been just six days since we started and the numbers are rising. We will continue collection for another week," says Oswal, who expects 1,000 applicants by then.

Oswal added that after the collection of forms they will be verified. By mid-February, the forms will be submitted to AWBI, a legal advisory body set up under the Animal Prevention Act of 1960.

Jitesh Jotwani, a volunteer collecting applications from people who feed stray animals, says, "Despite their kindness, most animal feeders are harassed by local people. Sometimes they are even thrashed. People don't realise these people are not only feeding the animals but also taking care of their sterilisation, which is important to check the population of stray dogs."

Alternatively, those want the ID-cards can also download the registration form AWBI website www.awbi.org. The form requires details like name, address and experience of working for animals. After the application form is submitted, the ID-card would be processed and mailed to the applicant in two weeks. The card will have the person's name and an attestation that he/she is doing a right and lawful deed, supported by AWBI.

Aletha Tavares, who has been feeding strays in her locality for the past two years, says that even though she feeds dogs in a metal bowl to avoid dirtying the road, local people often object. "They feel my act will attract more dogs which may attack them or their children. I have tried explaining to them that dogs don't attack unless they are provoked but they don't seem to understand," she says, adding that in order to take the dogs for sterilisation, it is important to build a rapport with the animals by offering them food regularly.

Tavares has been distributing and collecting application forms in Aundh and Baner. The I-cards, she says, will give recognition to people involved in this service. "Also, they will be able to do it with confidence and dignity. The I-cards will help them deal with people who object to feeding of dogs," she adds.

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