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As the saying goes, charity begins at home, doing good for the society starts with looking after one's own neighbourhood. This was precisely the ideology, which inspired Darshana Mazumdar to work towards controlling the stray dog menace in her neighbourhood of Viman Nagar. An endevour, which saw her being honoured with the Prithvi Doot award by Bluewiss, an NGO that works for the conservation of biodiversity in the city. Mazumdar intended to take her work to the next level while working on the same. "Controlling the dog population does not mean killing them," says Mazumdar, founder member of the Pune Animal Lovers' (PALS) group, adding, "One has to think scientifically and logically to make the city free of stray dogs. Sterilisation is the best way to deal with this problem, but that too needs proper strategy and implementation,"
It was in early June last year that she struck on the idea of getting the dogs of her vicinity sterilised. She started by establishing a friendly relationship with the dogs in the area near the Symbioses College in Viman Nagar. "Stray dogs are not friendly at all. They can get very aggressive if you come near them and this is why there is a problem of dogs biting people. In order to improve the comfort levels with them, I started feeding them regularly. They started recognising me in a week's time, but I took about a month to muster enough courage to pick up the dogs, put them in my car and take them to the sterilisation centre," recalls Mazumdar.
The three dogs, which she took on the first trip were malnourished and small in size. "They were petrified when I put them in the car and they created such a mess. I got them operated upon and brought them back from where I had picked them up," she says. Mazumdar has voluntarily taken 35 such stray dogs to get them sterilised and dropped them back to their locality. "This way the dog population will not drastically drop all of a sudden, but atleast we know that the area will not have more puppies to deal with," she explains.
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