According to James Baynes, 56, who shared a video on social media of a resident of Jayachandran Nagar near Pallikaranai verbally berating him, this is not the first time locals have found a problem with his action.
“I have been feeding nearly 100 dogs in this neighbourhood for the last five years. While some are understanding and accepting, certain locals have repeatedly asked me to stop. I have tried my best to avoid causing any trouble, by going out late at night to feed the dogs, but they continue having a concern,” he said.
According to animal activists, community feeders must exercise caution while feeding strays. “We are putting the safety of the animals at risk,” says Manjula Ganesan, an activist who had faced similar backlash.
“Sometimes, some locals might take out their anger on the animals. In one such case, locals beat up an aged pregnant dog and in another, someone poured boiled water onto a mother and pups. So let activists know and they will tell you how to go about,” she said.
From talking to residents beforehand to feeding the animals away from houses, as well as ensuring safety and hygiene while feeding, activists feel good relations with the residents helps the animals as well.
“At the end of the day, you are living in a human community. We need to ensure the locals are not put to risk. Feeding the strays should be a community effort for it to be a long-term arrangement,” said Antony Rubin, an animal activist.
During the lockdown, it is of more importance to look after the strays, said Chinny Krishna, co-founder of Blue Cross of India. “They do not have their usual source of food, so many are malnourished and at risk,” he said.