RANCHI: It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and a Ranchi-based NGO is working on the exact concept to draw attention to the plight of stray dogs. Heaven of Jesus, which works for stray animals, is organizing an online street dog photography competition to sensitize people about the plight of stray canines and fight cruelty against them.
Sonali Mazumdar, one of the organizing members, said: “After the case of murder of 15 puppies in Kolkata made headlines last month, it became clear that cruelty to stray dogs is not just something confined to Ranchi. Here, many people abandon their pets on the streets as soon as they fall ill or develop any ailment. This cruelty can only be fought through sensitization and we decided to organize the competition to invoke a sense of empathy among people.”
Running an animal rescue centre on the outskirts of Ranchi, Mazumdar and her husband, Somen, currently have about 60 dogs, three cows and an injured horse in their shelter. “The rules of the competition include that the photos must be of street dogs. Our concept was that to click a photograph, one will at least feed a biscuit or two to these dogs to befriend them. Even a small gesture like that can go a long way,” said Somen.
“The problem with invoking empathy about stray animals is that it is a cause that is not talked about much. We need to respect the fact that the animals on the streets are living beings too and their lives are also important,” Sonali added.
The entry fee for the online competition is Rs 100 and the collections will be used for taking care of the animals at the shelter. “After we distribute the prize money, the remaining money will go towards feeding and taking care of the animals at our shelter. The newest addition to our family is an injured horse who was lying in Harmu for over a week abandoned by his owner — a horseshoe seller,” she added.
Incidentally, following various PILs from NGOs, the Supreme Court also made an observation on their right to life. The court in January said: “Nobody can destroy stray dogs in entirety. They also have a right to live.”