Stray-dog menace forces homestay owner in Fort Kochi to shut business
Though the owner Jude Shabu T A knocked on the doors of authorities concerned seeking help, there was no response.
KOCHI: Jude Shabu T A, 56, returned to Fort Kochi in 2017 after spending 22 years in the Gulf with the dream to do a business in the booming tourism sector in Kerala. However, four years later, Jude feels dejected and is looking to wind up his homestay facility at his residence at JD Street at Amaravathy division of Fort Kochi.
Shockingly, it is not the dearth of tourists that forces him to close down the business but the stray dogs roaming in front of his house. Though he had knocked on the doors of authorities concerned seeking help, there was no response.
“Like other NRIs, I returned with high hopes. But I feel disappointed as none is taking my issue seriously. When authorities rehabilitate wild animals like tiger and elephant, no step is being taken against stray dogs that are even posing a threat to people’s lives here,” he said.
Jude had invested several lakhs for starting the business. “There are five or six stray dogs on our street which create trouble. The guests coming to our homestay are afraid to go out. A woman from Germany booked our room for six months. But she vacated within a few days due to fear of dogs. Similarly, an NRI from Dubai came to live with us for several months. We had to escort him back every time he went outside. Later, he decided to move out. Luckily no one was bitten yet,” he said.
Jude said he had approached the health officer of the Kochi corporation on four occasions. “The corporation officials say there is no solution to the stray dog menace. They cite the cases registered against the people who killed stray dogs. But I never wanted the strays killed. I only want them to be shifted,” he said. Jude had also sent several emails to Tourism Minister After P A Mohamed Riyas seeking his intervention to address the issue. “There was no response to the letters sent to the minister’s email address given on the government website,” he said.
Priya P A, councillor of Amaravathy division of the corporation, said Jude’s case is genuine, but authorities are helpless. She blamed the ineffectiveness of the Animal birth control (ABC) programme for the stray dog menace. “Myself and my family are also victims of stray menace. Under the ABC programme, the dog picked for sterilisation have to be dropped back at the same place after five days. So, the dogs continue to remain on the streets. The stray dogs from JD street were taken for sterilisation on four occasions. Recently, a dog gave birth to six puppies. Unfortunately, the corporation has no rehabilitation programme for stray dogs,” he said.
Priya said the residents near Jude’s homestay are feeding the strays dogs. “We issued notice to those residents to take licences and keep the dogs at their houses. But they don’t want to do that. One of the dogs which attack people at JD street belonged to a resident. Though the police warned the resident to keep the dog inside their house compound, he is still letting the dog roam freely,” Priya said.