Community efforts bring 20,000 dogs to care, help slow down spread of rabies

Humane Society International / India

Dog in India
Mayur Waghela

LUCKNOW, Uttar Pradesh— On World Spay Day, Humane Society International/India and Lucknow Municipal Corporation celebrate sterilizing and vaccinating 70% of the street dog population in Lucknow, achieving the goal set forth by the city’s first-ever Animal Birth Control program launched in 2019 by HSI/India. A recent survey conducted by HSI/India reveals that over 73,000 street dogs have been sterilized and vaccinated, effectively curbing street dog population growth and preventing puppies from entering a life of suffering. The sterilization project has succeeded in preventing inhumane population control methods such as culling or relocation.

With the 70% sterilization and vaccination mark achieved, Lucknow is on the path to becoming Uttar Pradesh’s first city that will soon reach 80% sterilization of its street dog population. Vaccinating dogs, supported by effective dog population management, is the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people. On World Spay Day, Lucknow met the 70% vaccination coverage, signaling effective control of canine rabies, as endorsed by the World Health Organization in its Rabies – Zero deaths by 2030 report.

Robust community support has enabled the teams to reach such a high dog sterilization level. “Paving the way for behavioral transformation in societies, community members have played a crucial role”, said Dr. Piyush Patel, Director of Companion Animals and Engagement, HSI/India. “At least 28% of the dogs served by the program, or around 20,000 street dogs, were brought to the Animal Birth Control clinic in Jarhara for spay/neuter services by community members. This indicates that people are now well-aware of the program’s benefits for both humans and dogs. Our next goal is to hit 80%,” he added.

Dr. Patel envisions Lucknow serving as a national model, a “training and learning” hub, and an inspiration to other Indian cities. “Along with high-volume dog sterilization, active community education through workshops on rabies awareness and dog behavior has been the key to achieving this milestone,” said Dr. Arvind Rao, additional commissioner, of Lucknow Municipal Corporation.

HSI/India’s “walk-in Saturdays” made accessible to communities sterilization and vaccination of street dogs by making these services free every Saturday. Dr. Rao added: “Our city will benefit from our proactive actions. I urge every citizen in Lucknow to bring their unsterilized dogs for spaying and vaccination, to improve dog welfare, rabies control and create healthy communities.”

Media contact: Shaili Shah, ; 993-059-1005

Humane Society International / India

Kathy Milani/HSI

THIMPHU, Bhutan—The Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan has become the first country in the world to declare its entire street dog population fully sterilized and vaccinated following years of investment in a humane dog management program with global animal charity Humane Society International. At the formal closing ceremony of National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project in the capital Thimphu, presided over by Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering, the Royal Government of Bhutan announced this historic achievement for animal welfare and human health.

At the ceremony, Prime Minister Tshering presented the various stakeholders, including HSI with a plaque in recognition of HSI’s support towards Bhutan’s street dog welfare success from the beginning in 2009 until its closure—thereby honouring a decade and a half of intensive, targeted spay/neuter work and community engagement initiatives carried out by Bhutan in partnership with HSI.

Since its inception, the project has successfully sterilized and vaccinated more than 150,000 street dogs and micro-chipped 32,000 pet dogs.

There are approximately 300 million street dogs across Asia who battle starvation, untreated diseases and parasitic infections, transmissible cancers, injuries from road traffic accidents, as well as direct persecution and inhumane culling. Without effective sterilization and vaccination programs, street dog populations can increase to unsustainable numbers, exacerbating the risk of dog bites and the spread of rabies. The World Health Organization estimates that around 59,000 people a year die of rabies globally, and most rabies cases in humans are the result of a dog bite. Governments across Asia routinely resort to inhumane methods of managing street dogs by culling and mass sheltering.

In 2009, recognising the societal and animal welfare issues surrounding street dogs, the Bhutan Government invited HSI to facilitate a humane management approach for the country’s sizeable dog population. HSI implemented a pilot spay, neuter and vaccination program for dogs in the capital city. This initiative was later scaled up nationwide, eventually becoming the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project for Bhutan.

Following the successful pilot, HSI trained over 35 Bhutanese veterinarians and staff in high-volume, high-quality spay/neuter techniques, and a community engagement initiative was integrated into the program to improve public awareness of dog welfare and mitigate human-dog conflict.

At the closing ceremony, Prime Minister Tshering congratulated representatives including de-suups (community volunteers) from all dzongkhags (districts) across Bhutan for their success in catching, sterilizing and vaccinating street dogs.

Keren Nazareth, HSI/India’s senior director of companion animals and engagement, who has worked closely with the Bhutan program since 2015, said: “HSI could not have found a more committed humane street dog management partner than the Royal Government of Bhutan. This has been a long journey together with constant learning and adjustment, but from the start the Government has been committed which has enabled us to consistently improve the program. We congratulate the people of Bhutan for this extraordinary dog-friendly success which also brings enormous benefits to the local communities. It’s a remarkable achievement that we hope shows the way forward for governments across Asia that also face street dog challenges. There is much to be learned from Bhutan including its determination and compassion to create a more peaceful coexistence for people and dogs.”

Download photos of HSI’s street dog program in Bhutan and the closing ceremony.

Launched to commemorate World Rabies Day, the directory connects community members with services dedicated to the welfare of street dogs

Humane Society International / India

Helping dogs in Vadodara, India
Chanchal Sana Makarpura

VADODARA, Gujarat—Humane Society International/India launched India’s first-ever directory dedicated to street dog welfare. The directory features useful information on dog welfare-focused individuals and agencies that offer services including rescue, veterinary care, transport, adoptions, treatment, rabies vaccinations, and Animal Birth Control (ABC) facilities and services.

An estimated 75 million dogs roam India’s streets, facing risks like early puppy mortality, diseases, traffic injuries, malnutrition, and cruelty due to communities’ fear of dog bites and rabies (which causes approximately 20,000 human deaths annually). The directory is key to creating a strong dog welfare network by connecting the community with multiple agencies and services committed to helping street dogs in Vadodara, saving both human and animal lives.

The event was attended by dignitaries from Vadodara Municipal Corporation VMC including the Smt. Pinkyben Nirajbhai Soni (Mayor), Shri Chiragbhai Dilipbhai Barot (Deputy Mayor), and Dr.Devesh Patel (Chief Health Officer), along with representatives of listed agencies and services. Local NGOs, volunteers and residents also participated in the event.

“There are multiple individuals and groups across the city that have joined hands with us over the years to improve street dog welfare in Vadodara. We created this directory in recognition of the need to unite these forces into a single platform accessible to all of Vadodara’s residents and thereby strengthening the street dog welfare work in the city,” says Dr. Vrushti Mawani, senior manager of Companion Animals & Engagement, HSI/India. “We plan to build similar resources for other Indian cities too,” she adds.

“The directory developed by Humane Society International/India is for everyone who wants to improve the lives of street dogs but feels helpless due to lack of access to the right network,” says Rashmika Vaghela, Municipal Councilor, VMC.

This initiative is a part of the organization’s integrated dog management program, involving Animal Birth Control along with extensive community engagement and responsible pet ownership to promote peaceful coexistence between humans and street dogs across Vadodara. Since 2017, HSI/India, in collaboration with VMC, has sterilized and vaccinated over 44,000 dogs, marking Vadodara as the first city in India to achieve a dog sterilization rate of more than 86%.

Media contact: Shaili Shah, ; 993-059-1005

Volunteers and community members honored at a May 28 event celebrating successful street dog campaign

Humane Society International / India


DEHRADUN, India—Today, leading animal protection charity Humane Society International/India celebrates the fifth anniversary of its humane street dog management program across Uttarakhand state at a special event celebrating the contributions by volunteers and community members. HSI/India and Uttarakhand Animal Welfare have worked together since 2018 to spay, neuter and administer rabies vaccinations to an estimated 46,000 street dogs within the last five years. 

Efficient, high-volume and high-quality humane dog management practices play a critical role in alleviating the plight of street dogs, minimizing dog bites and mitigating conflicts between humans and dogs. HSI/India’s specially-developed smartphone app, its science-driven approach and commitment to continuous innovation have been crucial factors in the program’s success. 

During the event, HSI/India delivered awards to volunteers and community members in recognition of their unwavering dedication and significant contribution to street dog welfare. Through various HSI/India activities such as public awareness events, dog behaviour training and animal first-aid workshops, the active participation of the community and volunteers has played a pivotal role in fostering harmonious coexistence between street dogs and people in Uttarakhand and has helped increase the number of humane dog surgeries.   

Mayor Sunil Uniyal presided over the event as chief guest while officers from the Dehradun Nagar Nigam, Uttarakhand Animal Welfare Board, volunteers, community members and local residents also attended. 

“At HSI/India, the health and welfare of the dogs is our top priority. With our advanced and carefully monitored medical and surgical protocols, we have successfully sterilized over 46,000 dogs in Uttarakhand. This has helped reduce the number of puppies born on the streets, many of whom otherwise die early or suffer greatly because of lack of adequate veterinary care,“ says Dr. Piyush Patel, Senior Program Manager, Dog Management, HSI/India. “A healthier and more stable dog population also means healthier and more peaceful communities. So by looking after the dog population, we are also looking out for the communities with whom these dogs live.  After achieving great success in these cities, we are looking forward to expanding in new towns of Uttarakhand state.”.    

“The welfare of street dogs depends not only on what they eat but also on whether they are spayed, neutered and vaccinated,” says Namrata Upadhyay, an HSI/India volunteer since 2018. “Since HSI/India started working in Dehradun, we have seen a difference in people’s perspectives and attitudes towards street dogs. Conflicts between dogs and citizens have been reduced. For volunteers like me, the dog behaviour workshops and their other community engagement activities and trainings have helped us work better for street dog welfare.” she adds.     

The program in Uttarakhand is part of HSI/India’s wider dog management program which provides an integrated and humane solution to India’s street dog population challenge. HSI/India hopes to apply the lessons taken from Uttarakhand to better manage street dog populations in other Indian states. 

The award invites individuals above the age of 18 who promote a plant-based lifestyle in their individual capacity.

Humane Society International / India


India—Humane Society International/India, a leading animal protection organization, has launched and now invites nominations for the Swarnali Roy Award for Vegan Advocacy to acknowledge the valuable work of vegan advocates in the country. The award recognizes individuals whose plant-based advocacy contributes significantly to the animal protection movement in India.

The award honors the late Ms. Swarnali Roy, an employee of the organization who led the plant-based outreach program in India until her death in 2021. Roy’s work in building a strong foundation for plant-based campaigns in India paved the way for reducing cruelty in intensive animal agriculture systems.

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of HSI/India, said: “Swarnali was a passionate advocate for animals. Under her mentorship, the animal protection movement welcomed many young individuals who continue to work on advocating for a plant-based future. So, we thought it only right to honor her memory by supporting the work of the rising generation of advocates. This award will showcase the remarkable work of people in promoting veganism and the plant-based movement in India.”

HSI/India will announce the first set of awards on April 5th, Roy’s birthday, starting in 2023 and every year thereafter. Nominations are invited from residents of India who are above 18 and promote a vegan or plant – based lifestyle in their city, state or across the country. The award will be given at three ranks. The first-place awardee will receive INR 50,000), the second will receive INR 30,000 and the third will receive INR 20,000. The evaluation and selection of winners will be enabled by a five-panel jury consisting of vegan enthusiasts, leaders and advocates including Abhay Rangan, Founder of One Good, Palak Mehta, Founder of Vegan First, Nikunj Sharma, CEO, Mercy for Animals India Foundation and Parag Agarwal, Founder, Indian Animal Fund in addition to an HSI India representative.

To nominate someone you know or yourself who meets the eligibility requirements, you can fill out the form available here by March 25, 2023 on HSI’s website  Award Rules, including eligibility requirements, are set out below.


Nominees must be legal residents of the Republic of India who are 18 years or older as of March 25, 2003.   All nominations must be received by 11:59 pm (IST) on March 25, 2003.  Incorrect, untrue or incomplete nominations are void.  Employees of Humane Society International (HSI) and affiliates and jury members, and members of their households, whether or not related, and immediate family members (spouses, parents, siblings, children and each of their respective spouses) are not eligible.  In connection with the award nomination process, HSI and affiliates will collect personal data about nominees and those nominating them in accordance with its privacy policy. By participating in the nomination process you hereby agree to HSI collection and usage of the personal information submitted and acknowledged that you have read HSI’s privacy policy.  Except to the extent prohibited by law, participation in the nomination process and/or acceptance of an award constitutes consent to HSI and affiliates use of name, photograph likeness, statements, biographical information and nomination application for advocacy and promotional purposes in any and all media, now or hereafter devised, worldwide in perpetuity, without any payment or consideration, or further notification or permission.  Awardees will be determined by a five-panel jury based on five selection criteria focused on motivation, self-development and impact, with the three nominees with the highest cumulative scores being awarded the first (INR 50,000), second (INR 30,000) and third place (INR 20,000) awards, respectively.  Awardees will be contacted by on or about 4th April.  If HSI/India is unable to contact an awardee with three (3) calendar days of the first notification attempt, that awardee will forfeit the award and the award will go to the nominee with the next highest cumulative score.  Award prizes are subject to income tax withholdings.

The lifesaving program to manage the city’s street dog population celebrates World Spay Day with milestone

Humane Society International / India

Kawi from Lucknow’s Rajajipuram area was the 50,000th dog to be sterilized. Photo by: Shruti Singh for HSI/India

LUCKNOW, Uttar Pradesh—Humane Society International/India celebrates World Spay Day with the successful completion of its 50,000th spay/neuter surgery in Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, reaching a crucial milestone in its Animal Birth Control program.

In 2019, HSI/India implemented the city’s first-ever comprehensive street dog management program to improve the welfare of its street dog population. As is the case in many other Indian cities, street dogs in Lucknow often suffered from injuries caused by vehicular accidents, malnutrition and infectious disease; sadly, few survived long enough to see their first birthday.

Lucknow is home to more than 4 million people and an estimated 75,000 dogs living on the streets.

The two projects involve traditional aspects of dog management including high-volume, high-quality spay/neuter and rabies vaccination, coupled with intensive community engagement and ongoing data collection to ensure the success of the programs. The dog management project is run in collaboration with the Lucknow Municipal Corporation. Thanks to the work of HSI/India, Lucknow is on the path to becoming Uttar Pradesh’s first city to have achieved 80% sterilization of its street dog population and will hopefully serve as a model for other Indian cities.

“A large population of unsterilized dogs contributes to ongoing dog-related complaints and requests for help from the local community,” says Dr. Arvindkumar Rao, additional municipal commissioner at Lucknow Nagar Nigam. “Achieving 50,000 surgeries using high-quality protocols is a great achievement to ensure better dog welfare in the city.”

“Despite setbacks posed by the pandemic, we were able to successfully sterilize almost 58% of the entire dog population in Lucknow,” says Dr. Neeraj Kumar, program manager at HSI/India. “After sterilizing the 50,000th dog Kawi, we are more determined than ever to achieve our goal of sterilizing 80% of the entire dog population in the city by the end of 2023.”

Thanks to the work of HSI/India, Lucknow is on the path to becoming Uttar Pradesh’s first city to have achieved 80% sterilization of its street dog population and will hopefully serve as a model for other Indian cities to follow.

Media contact: Shaili Shah, ; 993-059-1005

The state government, in an effort to institutionalize snake rescue, takes a progressive step in recognizing, regulating and humanely managing the growing instances of human-snake conflict.

Humane Society International / India


KARNATAKA, India—In a move that will standardize and certify humane and responsible snake rescue in the state, the Karnataka Forest Department on Monday published an operational manual for certified snake rescuers. The guidelines titled “Effective Human-Snake Conflict Management and Mitigation: An Operation Manual for Certified Snake Rescuers” were released by Smt. Madhu Sharma IFS and Shri Vijaykumar Gogi IFS, and were authored by eminent herpetologists Shri. Romulus Whitaker, Padma Shri award-recipient, as well as The Liana Trust’s Gerard Martin and Sumanth Bindumadhav from Humane Society International/India, which runs a snakebite mitigation and awareness program. The authors also consulted with snake rescuers from across the state.

India is the snakebite capital of the world with more than one million snakebites a year, and has more instances of human conflict with snakes than with any other species including tigers, leopards, elephants and bears combined. Every day across the country, hundreds of thousands of individuals and families encounter snakes in their day-to-day lives, with farmers being particularly at risk as they work often barefoot in the fields.

Karnataka, like other states in India, is home to several hundred passionate individuals who care about snake protection and provide responsible rescue services to mitigate this issue. Unfortunately, not everyone who presents themselves as a rescuer follows such ethical codes of conduct, and it can be easy for desperate families facing snake conflict to be exploited either for monetary gain or to increase the rescuer’s following on social media platforms.

Speaking on the launch of these guidelines, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Shri. Vijaykumar Gogi I.F.S., said: “These guidelines and certification programs to follow are the need of the hour in the state. Recognizing the need for this, we have invited eminent herpetologists such as Padma Shri awardee Shri. Romulus Whitaker, herpetologists Gerard Martin and Sumanth Bindumadhav to produce these guidelines after conducting the required consultation with various other snake rescuers in the state as well. We will soon launch this program systematically with the aim of recognizing, validating and certifying all well-intentioned rescuers in the state and set an example for other states to follow.”

Sumanth Bindumadhav, senior manager of wildlife and disaster response at Humane Society International/India, and one of the manual authors, said: “It is a welcome move by the state not only to recognize but also empower rescuers with the correct knowledge and skills for responsible, ethical snake conflict management. Through this process, rescuers will come to identify that the best rescue solution for people and snakes is to facilitate amicable coexistence between communities and the snakes around them. Several years of research have shown us that removal or relocation of snakes only increases conflict and does not solve the problem. We are excited to be a part of this vital program and build further on this strong foundation laid today.”

Through the guidelines, the department has reiterated the need to identify, train and certify genuine snake rescuers across the state, to empower them further and curb any illegal activities that stem from unorganized snake rescue. These comprehensive guidelines cover all topics from snake biology to step-by-step instructions on humanely rescuing a snake from a conflict situation, knowledge the department recognizes every responsible rescuer should have.

“Human-snake conflict has a much higher cost to life and limb than all other human-wildlife conflict in India combined. However, it is one that can be solved with large scale education and the introduction of effective practices. Snake rescuers have the potential to be catalysts for this change. This manual is the first step in the Karnataka Forest Department’s efforts to bring about positive and effective change in this field.” says Gerard Martin, founder trustee at The Liana Trust and the co-author of the guidelines.


Media contact:  Shaili Shah, media relations specialist at HSI/India: ; 993-059-1005,

This World Animal Day, give the gift of an amendment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to India, organizations urge as they continue to demand #NoMore50 for animal cruelty

Humane Society International / India

Darren Mower/iStock

NEW DELHI—On World Animal Day, Humane Society International/India and People for Animals have jointly launched a multi-state billboard campaign as they continue to demand an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Started in 2016, the #NoMore50 campaign seeks an amendment of this outdated law to better address animal cruelty and abuse in the country.

“A community is best able to protect itself when it is able to protect the animals who are a part of it. Research has established the link between violence against animals and violence against humans. A holistic approach to a safer society, for women, for children, includes an effective law protecting animals against cruelty. Through these billboards, we continue to urge the Government of India to table the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 2022 bill in the upcoming winter session of the Parliament,” says Alokparna Sengupta, managing director, HSI/India.

The billboards, which are placed in Delhi (Patel Chowk and Lodhi Road), Mumbai (Nariman Point) and Hyderabad (Kavadiguda and Khairatabad), carry well-shot images of indie dogs, elephants and cats with witty pop-culture references.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was enacted in 1960 to replace colonial-era legislation and sought to prevent the infliction of pain and suffering on animals. However, the law has not been updated in the last 62 years and is inadequate to address animal welfare concerns in the present day.

Currently, the maximum penalty for even the most heinous form of animal abuse—including poisoning stray dogs, brutally beating them to death or burning them alive—is a petty Rs.50.

“The highest courts of the country, the Law Commission, several eminent jurists have all recommended an amendment to the PCA Act,” says Gauri Maulekhi, trustee, People for Animals. “This much-needed amendment will help our police to take effective action and enable the judiciary to deliver justice,” she adds.

HSI/India hands over successful street dog management program to Vadodara Municipal Corporation

Humane Society International / India


VADODARA, India—Humane Society International/India and Vadodara Municipal Corporation are celebrating the success of sterilizing 86% of the city’s street dog population, the highest sterilization rate ever achieved in any Indian city. The success comes as HSI/India officially hands over its street dog management program to the Vadodara authorities. HSI/India hopes that Vadodara becomes a model for other cities in India to follow to create a harmonious co-existence between street dogs and local communities.

HSI/India and VMC have worked together to spay, neuter and rabies vaccinate approximately 44,000 street dogs across the city since 2017, when they launched the sterilization program to alleviate animal suffering, reduce dog bites and decrease human-dog conflict. Humane surgeries have been combined with community engagement and awareness drives.

The program in Vadodara is part of HSI/India’s wider dog management program which provides a practical, sustainable and humane solution to India’s street dog population challenge. An estimated 75 million dogs live on the streets across India, with most puppies dying before they reach 12 months old. Without access to veterinary care, dogs can also die of rabies and other diseases, and live with painful and debilitating injuries from being hit by traffic. When the number of dogs exceeds the community’s capacity to care for them, street dogs can also suffer from malnutrition and may even face cruel behavior such as stone throwing, which can be exacerbated by a community’s fear of dog bites and rabies.

In 2014, HSI/India estimates that 17% of dogs in Vadodara were sterilized. A total of 23,696 dogs have since been sterilized, bringing the total percentage of community dogs sterilized to 86% in Gujarat’s second largest city.

“HSI/India is very proud to have been able to deliver a successful street dog management program in Vadodara. Effective planning, zero compromise in protocol and standard operating procedures being followed every day in the last five years have enabled us to achieve this target,” says Dr. Sanjay Ahir, Vadodara dog project manager at HSI/India.

Multiple dog population surveys, efficient usage of technology and innovation, in addition to work with the local community, also contributed to the success of this program.

“Meaningful and productive community engagement is central to any street dog welfare program,” says Parul Dholakia, assistant manager, community engagement program at HSI/India. In Vadodara, the community engagement methods included attending to city-wide, dog-related complaints, holding

workshops on dog behavior to familiarize residents with animal birth control and anti-rabies vaccination processes, legal measures regarding street dog welfare, volunteer outreach and first-aid workshops.

“Over time, we witnessed a drop in requests to relocate or remove dogs. This, I would say, is a good indicator of efforts reaping fruits,” says Dholakia.

The animal protection organization will now hand over the program to the VMC, whilst continuing the community engagement program. A closing celebratory event followed by an award ceremony will be attended by officers from the VMC, Vadodara Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, active community volunteers, dog feeders and residents.

“Post this milestone, we believe we are at a stage to do a lot more to make Vadodara a smart city for both people and street dogs,” says Dr. Vijay Panchal, market superintendent of VMC. “HSI/India has been a great partner and we hope to continue doing pioneering work to develop a model for other cities in India.”


Media contact: Shaili Shah: 993-059-1005,

Humane Society International/India’s “Fab Four” demonstrate peaceful co-existence of dogs with locals and tourists in yoga capital of the world

Humane Society International / India

Lennon, one of the four dogs named after the Beatles, in the context of HSI/India’s humane street dog program in Rishikesh, is helping raise awareness. HSI.

RISHIKESH, India—Four street dogs living in India’s tourist hotspot of Rishikesh, where the Beatles visited in 1968, have been named after the Fab Four as part of a mass spay/neuter and rabies vaccination drive. Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison are among thousands of mainly female street dogs in Rishikesh being sterilized and vaccinated by animal charity Humane Society International/India to humanely reduce the city’s growing street dog population and promote peaceful co-existence between dogs, local residents and the thousands of tourists who flock to the city for yoga retreats and water sports.

Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison have all been sterilized by HSI/India, and their personal stories are helping spread awareness of the program as well as fostering an appreciation of street dogs as individuals. Seven-year-old Harrison lives in the city’s Ganganagar district where community members make sure she regularly receives her favorite foods–biscuits and roti. Now a happy and cared-for dog, Harrison’s life on the street had been tough–all her puppies from multiple litters died, and she also lost her dog companion in a road accident. One-year-old Lennon is a third-generation community dog born in the neighborhood, and McCartney is the only living survivor of a litter of seven who struggled to protect herself from bigger dogs before community carers stepped in. Starr is a young dog who lives with her mother and sister in Awas Vikas Colony where local residents feed her eggs and buns.

Piyush Patel, HSI/India’s senior manager for the Dog Management program, explains: “An estimated 75 million dogs live on the streets across India, with most puppies dying before they reach 12 months old. Without access to veterinary care, dogs can also die of rabies and other diseases, and live with painful and debilitating injuries from being hit by traffic. When the number of dogs exceeds the community’s capacity to care for them, street dogs can also suffer from malnutrition and may even face cruel behavior such as stone throwing, which can be exacerbated by a community’s fear of dog bites and rabies. In Rishikesh we aim to sterilize 80% of female dogs like Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison, because this is the most effective way to control the population growth. We will monitor this approach over the next few years but if successful, this female-focus could shape all animal birth control projects in the future.”

In addition to sterilization and vaccination, the program will also focus on community engagement to ensure public awareness of the program, mitigate human-dog conflict and address dog welfare concerns.

Download photos and video of the “Beatles” dogs of Rishikesh


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media:



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