Hadapsar residents turn to superstition to scare strays

Hadapsar residents turn to superstition to scare strays

PUNE: It seems there is no rational solution to the stray dog menace in the city. Hence, citizens are turning to irrational remedies due to stringent legal provisions coupled with the civic apathy.

Despite repetitive complaints about dog bites being lodged in different city areas, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has not been able to tackle the menace due to a strict implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act.

Now, residents of Mahadevnagar in Hadapsar have come up with a ‘trick’ to scare off stray dogs by placing a bottle filled with red colour outside their homes. 

They claimed that this bottle keeps stray dogs away from their homes. Now, many homes in the area are dotted with such red coloured bottles. 

These residents can’t explain the reason behind the phenomenon but they continue to follow it, blindly. Some people claim its effectiveness while others don’t trust the remedy.

This may remind many belonging to the old generation of strange symbols such as white crosses drawn on main doors known as ‘apotropaic marks’ to ward off witches and evil spirits to keep residents inside safe. 

They date back to a period, during which belief in the supernatural was common.

During a recent General Body meeting, corporators cutting across party lines criticised the civic administration over the stray dog menace in the city. 

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator Ujjwala Janagale, who represents the Hadapsar Gaothan-Satavwadi ward, pointed out how people dread stray dogs. She said people are using all possible tricks to keep these dogs away from their homes. 

When contacted, Janagale told Sakal Times, “One of the residents from Mahadevnagar met me and requested to provide ‘the red liquid being distributed by the PMC to check the stray dog menace’ in their area. When I visited Mahadevnagar, I found red-colour water bottle outside many houses. When I enquired, people told me that these bottles keep stray dogs away. They don’t come close to your house and trouble you. Later, I visited my ward and saw over 100 such houses.” 

Some people said the trick works while others are doubtful about its effectiveness. 

Surekha Wable, a resident from Mahadevnagar told Sakal Times, “We are fed up with stray dogs. We registered many complaints with local corporators and civic offices. However, no one helped us in checking the menace. So, we see this bottle filled with red water as a ray of hope. Many homes in our area have this bottle. It may not be 100 per cent effective. Earlier, there were many strays in our area but now the number is less.” 

Geeta Pawar, a housewife and resident of Mahadevnagar, said, “Stray dogs defecate outside my house and on roads in my area. I was fed up with this. I saw people keeping red water bottles outside their homes. So, I have also placed one outside my house. However, there is no relief from the problem.”

Sonali Chavan, another Mahadevnagar resident, said, “I don’t know how the trick works but since my neighbours have kept these bottles outside their homes, I followed suit. It seems to have worked for the past one month. Now, stray dogs are not coming near my house.”

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