The street dog issue

Why do street dogs exist?

Most free-roaming dogs belong to an ancient canine race known as the Pariah Dog, which has existed all over Asia and Africa ever since human beings started living in settlements. They are, and have always been, scavengers–that is, they live on garbage created by humans. In India the breed has existed for perhaps 14,000 years or more. In addition to scavenging, they are widely kept as pets by rural and urban slum households

Much of the urban street dog population consists of mongrels or mix-breeds–descended from pure-breed dogs who have been allowed by their owners to interbreed with pariahs

The size of street dog populations always corresponds to the size and character of the human population of the area. Urban India has two features which create and sustain street dog populations:

1) Large amounts of exposed garbage, which provide an abundant source of food

2) A huge population of slum and street-dwellers, who often keep the dogs as free-roaming pets

Mumbai has over 12 million human residents, of whom over half are slum-dwellers. At least 500 tonnes of garbage remain uncollected daily. Therefore conditions are perfect for supporting a particularly large population of street dogs

Click to read some frequently asked questions about street dogs

Garbage provides a source of food

Most street dogs are actually pets of street and slum dwellers

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