Reflective animal collars are a boon for dogs, cattle and humans, too. Tauseef Ahmed saved the lives of 500 dogs in Mangaluru using them. And animal lovers from Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad have also saved lives, both animal and human, thanks to these collars
In just two months, Tauseef Ahmed has been successful in saving at least 500 dogs in Mangaluru, a busy coastal city in Karnataka. This is how: he has been tying reflective dog collars to street dogs, mostly wandering around highways criss-crossing the city, which helps motorists to notice them and slow down. And this saves human lives, too.
“In the last two weeks, the Animal Care Trust (ACT) has not received a single dog with these collars in the hospital for treatment. This is the biggest and only shelter for dogs. Having worked with them and the dogs, I am familiar with perhaps most of the dogs in each and every neighbourhood of Mangaluru. That is self-explanatory,” says Tauseef, animal activist and realtor by profession.
Ghastly accidents of Indies and humans triggered him to take the proactive step. “A couple and their toddler were spot dead after their two-wheeler hit a dog on the highway at night. This is not the only one; many people and community animals suffer minor or grievous injuries. Highways are accident prone areas in low visibility conditions because the vehicles are in high speed and there are no street lights. Thirdly, animals cross highways in search of food and water, and both animals and humans are vulnerable. We treat many dogs hit in accidents daily…. It was time that a proactive step was taken. Reflective dog collar is one such boon,” he added.
In the beginning, onlookers patted his back for saving a dog but remained apathetic towards the animals. “When I started telling them that it does not just save the animal but helps to reduce two-wheeler accidents thus saving humans, it raised their curiosity and interest in my work. Of the 500 dogs which now wear these collars in the city, I have tied 250 of them. Most of these collars were taken in bunches by community dog feeders who save their community dogs now,” Tauseef explained his fool-proof plan that worked.
Each reflective dog collar cost him Rs 40 and he bought 500. Initially, he paid from his pockets but then got sponsors for 250 of them. He bought the collars from Pawsitivity in Indore. The latter is a group of animal lovers who are manufacturers of reflective animal collars, mostly used for dogs and cattle.
Tauseef is not the first. Quite a few animal lovers from different parts of the country have been tying reflective animal collars from the past three years. Tushar Shinde of Pawsitivity says, “First, Motopaws manufactured this and we bought them from it but realised that it takes a lot of time for the company to make a bundle of 50. We started making them ourselves. Now we get bulk orders, selling almost 3000-4000 per month. The cost to manufacturing one in a bulk order comes down to about Rs 30 but the retail price would be around Rs 35 or more. Community dog feeders and animal activists have increasingly been using these collars to tie on community animals and cattle which stray on the roads.”
Jeru Jee Jee Bhoy, co-founder of Oliver Pet Care in Mumbai has been tying reflective dog collars for a while now. “Animals are most vulnerable on the road and in India, they are mostly seen as an obstacle. We don’t perceive them as animals trying to negotiate traffic and cross over to safety. Their reflexes are slower although I must admit that street animals are street smart. I don’t have a count of the dogs and cats I tied these collars on, but all I can say is that many community dog feeders in Mumbai are coming forward to help the animals,” she says.
Tushar sees over 300 animal lovers from metros–Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad buying reflective collars but some even order from tier II cities like Varanasi, Chandigarh, Pune, Bilaspur, Siliguri, Guwahati, Panchkula and others. Almost 60 are his regular customers. Arundhati Somaiah who runs an adoption centre for rescued dogs in Bengaluru–Fluffy Nut Foundation–is one among them. Each one of her team has tied these collars on around 20 dogs in their neighbourhoods and she also gets orders of reflective collars from other community dog feeders in the city. “Since Diwali 2018, I have sold 300 already. It is a safety device for the animals for sure but there are so many Indies which are still left out. We have a long way to go,” she says.
Anchal Khanna of Hyderabad has a couple of reflective dog collars and anti-rabies injections in her bag always. “I saw one of the Indies dead and people hitting its corpse with sticks, I was shaken and that triggered me to help out the city animals which stray onto the road. Whenever I go out, I have a vaccine and collar in my bag and if I see an Indie not neutered, I do that and tie this collar around its neck so that people in the area know that dog is vaccinated and stop ill-treating it. At the same time, it is saved from accidents because of the collar. Hyderabad sees a rise in the number of accidents involving animals but the number of dogs to be saved are way more than I can think of. There are a few community dog feeders who are now taking these collars and helping both cats and dogs,” she says. She has tied these collars on 135 dogs so far.