Animal lovers and �feeders� who take care of community animals have lately reported that a number of dogs have disappeared from the streets of Guwahati. One such incident was narrated by a family of Ulubari area. Amongst other strays, the family took care of a stray female dog and her five-month-old puppy whom they named Tin Tin. Like many other dogs, Tin Tin was born in the streets of Ulubari and grew up there. Of late, the dogs from the locality have started disappearing. Tin Tin�s mother also went missing, and one fine day, Tin Tin disappeared too.
In recent days, many street dogs have reportedly gone missing from Ulubari, RG Baruah Road, Hatigaon, Jalukbari and other areas of Guwahati. These cases of missing animals are attributable to the nefarious dog smuggling racket allegedly operating in the city. The street dogs are picked up in the dark of the night, drugged, muzzled and with their legs tied, put in gunny bags, crammed in trucks and smuggled to the neighbouring states of Nagaland and Mizoram where dog meat is considered a delicacy among the locals. Sometimes, while transporting the dogs, their muzzles are stitched and legs tied so tight that the ropes cut through their flesh. The conditions under which the dogs are later slaughtered are horrendous. Such is the treatment meted out to �man�s best friend�.
Animal activists in the North East with the help of police were able to nab a few vehicles smuggling dogs in the last couple of years, but much has not been achieved in this regard so far. Sadly, little has been done to address this grave issue, either by the government or any political party. Instances of dog smuggling in the city have increased enormously in the recent past.
There is also speculation of dog meat being sold illicitly by meat shops, street food vendors and restaurants in the city. However, this is yet to be proved. Adding to the woes, a few areas in Assam are nowadays witnessing the consumption of dog meat.
Consumption of dog meat is illegal in India but in the garb of tradition and culture, it is consumed overtly in some States of the North East. Last year, Railway Police in Tamil Nadu intercepted a group of men unloading parcels containing carcasses of slaughtered dogs. Around 2,100 kg of dog meat was recovered.
Dog meat is sold in other parts of the country as well but surreptitiously, unlike in the North East. While the spine-chilling ordeal these miserable animals undergo is undeniable, studies have revealed the potential threats to human health following the consumption of dog meat. Though some people believe dog meat can cure various illnesses, on the contrary, many diseases and infections associated with dog meat can jeopardise human heath.
With the help of local and international NGOs working in the field of animal welfare, animal activists and police, this vicious racket can be busted. Public awareness and a stronger animal welfare law is also necessary. It is a shame on humanity if our most loyal companion has to suffer and die a ghastly death for its flesh.