India is home to more than 75 million street and community dogs, many of whom live in relative harmony with people. But there is still a high incidence of dog bites across the country, and virtually all cases of human rabies in India, which may cause many thousands of deaths each year,* are linked to dog bites. According to the World Health Organization, about 30 to 60% of reported rabies cases and deaths in India occur in children under the age of 15 years.

Indiscriminate culling of dogs is often a knee-jerk response to dealing with human rabies cases. Dog culls do nothing, however to actually solve the issue, and instead cause immense animal suffering. 

For more than a decade, our Humane Society International colleagues in India have been working toward humane alternatives to cruel and indiscriminate culls, promoting peaceful co-existence between street dogs and people and vaccinating and sterilizing more than 200,000 dogs and cats across the country. HSI/India has been working in the city of Vadodara since September 2017 and along with the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, successfully achieved the milestone of spaying, neutering and vaccinating 86% of the city’s entire street dog population, the highest achieved by any Indian city ever. This dog sterilization rate has now maintained for two years running.

A new pilot project expands on this success in a fun and innovative way. In Vadodara, HSI/India engaged 30 preschoolers, ages 3 to 6 years, in a pilot project that uses a giant game of slides and ladders to teach them about street dog behavior and safety.