As many as 50 municipal corporations across Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states have decided to implement a programme that was successfully tried by the Chennai Corporation, bringing to a halt the annual killing of 20,000 street dogs.
It has to happen across the country, says Appaji Rao, vice chairperson of the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Animal welfare groups People for Animals (PFA) and Blue Cross, along with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the municipal body, here have led a 10-year programme to sterilise and relocate dogs, instead of killing them.
Animal welfare activists say the Indian pie dog or mongrel is one of the best breeds to keep, it is easy to keep them as pets, and they are good community watch and alarm dogs.
In 1995, activists like Shiranee Pereira, Marieen Vijay and Sethu Vaidyanathan had set up PfA here. At that time, the Chennai municipality was catching 18,000-20,000 dogs a year and killing them at Pulianthope, on the city's outskirt.
The practice has been on since 1932.