When animal welfare group World For All attached cameras to some stray dogs, the footage they captured was harrowing, to say the least. In fact, what it revealed was more soul-crushing than most people could imagine. In fact the strays struggled to find an ounce of kindness – and the cruelty dished out to them just got worse and worse.
World For All is a not-for-profit animal rescue group based in Mumbai, India. Its goal is a noble one: to find homes for the country’s vast population of stray and abandoned dogs. With that in mind, it revealed a troubling video on April 30, 2015.
To gain an insight into what stray dogs typically have to endure, the organization fitted some animals with GoPro cameras. And the resulting footage showed what homeless dogs have to go through each and every day. The conditions that the animals face – not to mention the casual cruelty meted out by members of the public – are heart-rending.
The video begins with a stray dog looking out over Mumbai from a metal roof. There’s little shelter in evidence as a hot sun beats down onto the corrugated iron surface. Presumably thirsty on account of the heat, the dog’s wanderings take it down to the beach. And although the sea provides it with some cooling respite, it’s soon time to move on.
An everyday activity like a crossing road is simple to most humans, but not so for a dog. In fact, each attempt at traversing a busy street brings with it the risk of serious injury or worse. And on the video, the stray is shown dodging between speeding vehicles to a backdrop of noisy, honking horns.
But it’s not just environmental issues that prove challenging here; people seem to be just as inhospitable. Indeed, the first person the stray meets is a woman in an alleyway. Seemingly without any provocation, the woman shouts at the dog and hurls a bucket of water straight at its face.
The dog retreats with a whimper and leaves to find a less populous area, perhaps one where it can find something to eat. Here, at least, the hound has some success when it comes across a scrap of food. But its elation is short-lived; the morsel slips from its jaws and ends up lying between some rocks, tantalizingly out of reach.
With no clean dog bowl to drink from, leaking faucets and dirty puddles provide the stray with water. Belly rubs and loving embraces are replaced with intimidation and abuse from people on the streets. Furthermore, the cruelty isn’t coming solely from adults.
Indeed, kids on the beach aren’t above kicking footballs into the dog’s face. And when the stray cowers under a parked car, its tormentors pursue the hapless hound and poke it with a cricket bat. Furthermore, it seems that some people encourage the stray to come close just so they can take a swipe at it.
For example, one man at a snack bar lures the dog over by offering it some food. But just when it looks like the stray has met a kind soul, the man subsequently lashes out. Instead of getting a rare treat, then, the dog is viciously kicked.
As the hungry stray scavenges around for some scraps of food, it has shoes thrown at it or is beaten with sticks. One person on a motorbike even aims a kick at the dog as he screeches by. And if you think the hound’s fellow species might act more humanely, think again.
In fact, it seems the stray is in just as much danger from other dogs as it is from humans. Everywhere the pooch goes, it is barked at, or warned off by, other dogs. In fact, on more than one occasion, people walking their dogs set their animals on the stray.
The harrowing film reaches its conclusion with a group of children letting off what sounds like firecrackers near the dog. The noise of the explosives causes the terrified animal to bolt and it winds up dodging traffic on a busy road once again. The camera then pans round to a speeding truck, and with a thud the screen goes black.
Despite the abrupt and shocking finale, however, World For All made sure to add a disclaimer at the end of the film. “This video was shot to raise awareness about the lives of stray dogs,” it wrote. “No dogs were hurt in the process of filming this video.”
“All scenes of cruelty have been depicted using video editing alone,” World For All continued. So while it’s unclear exactly which parts of the footage are genuine, the situations portrayed in the video are very real. And one YouTube commenter confirmed just as much.
“I’ve been to numerous parts of India, and it’s even worse than this video portrays,” the viewer said. “You pass by hundreds of starved dogs, ribs standing out completely, consistently throughout the country. People were glaring at me for even giving the dogs bread. They are considered pests in India for the most part.”
India’s problem with stray dogs – and there are thought to be 250,000 on the streets of Mumbai alone – is exacerbated by the diseases that some of the animals carry. Chief among these conditions is rabies, as a report on the website Care2 from May 2015 made clear. “India is responsible for approximately 70 percent of the world’s human rabies deaths,” the report claimed.
Not only that, but the website also states that at least 80,000 people in Mumbai claimed to have been bitten by a stray dog in 2011. Moreover, while vaccinating the stray population would go a long way towards solving the problem, it would come at a substantial financial cost. In fact, the potential outlay is something that various groups like World For All are trying to assist with.
It’s important to remember that solving India’s stray dog problem would benefit all parties. In simple terms, the dogs themselves would get loving homes and a better shot at life, while fewer people would be at risk of being bitten. As a result, the chance of contracting a serious disease would also diminish. It’s a win-win situation that World For All’s noble video could help push into the spotlight.
“The poverty and lack of education and awareness in many parts of India makes it very ignorant towards the issues of stray animals,” World For All states on its website, before going on to outline its ambitious vision for the future. “One day every stray animal in India will be treated with love, dignity and compassion and will find a place in our homes, hearts and lives,” it declares.