India has 80 million street dogs and cats, says Mars Petcare report

 India has 80 million street dogs and cats, says Mars Petcare report

The State of Pet Homelessness Index, released yesterday, advises people to give up their fetish for breed dogs, and adopt street dogs instead

Team L&M

There are nearly 80 million homeless cats and dogs in India, living in shelters or on the streets. This is despite the fact that during the lockdown two-thirds of pet parents had a newfound appreciation for their pets while six in ten people felt encouraged to adopt one.
Whats more: 82 per cent of dogs in India are considered street dogs and an equal percentage of people believe that street dogs should be put in shelters, 53 per cent of people feel street dogs present a danger to people and 65 per cent of people fear a dog bite.

These are the findings of the first-ever index on the state of pet homelessness, prepared by Mars Petcare, in association with an advisory board of leading animal welfare experts. The Index has been derived from the data received from more than 200 global and local sources across nine countries, and talks about a host of issues, including homeless companion animals (dogs and cats), bias against animals in shelters, and lack of pet-friendly homes.

Taronish Bulsara Co-Founder & President World for all, Ganesh Ramani MD MARS Petcare India, Ambika Shukla Director of Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC) and Dr Muralidhar Founder of VSAWRD at the release of the report 

India’s data highlights several challenges: housing limitations, financial limitations, practical barriers and lack of behavioural awareness about stray pets, leading to people buying breed dogs and cats instead of adopting from sheltersIn addition, relinquishment levels are higher in India as compared to global level – 50per cent of current and previous owners stated that they have relinquished a pet in the past as compared to 28 per cent on a global level. The data informed an overall index tally of 2.4 out of 10 for India.

“Until now, there was no way to measure and track the scale of the issue of homeless stray dogs and cats across the world and in India. This index that can provide a basis to measure the impact of the collective work being done,” says Ganesh Ramani, Managing Director, Mars Petcare India, welcoming government bodies, NGOs and individuals for collaborations so as to ensure all companion animals are wanted, cared for and welcome.

Appreciating Mars Petcare India for preparing the State of Pet Homelessness Index, Shashanka Ala, Deputy Commissioner, Karol Bagh Zone, Municipal Corporation of Delhi remarked, “Pet homelessness is a challenge for urban centres like Delhi, which became more pronounced during the pandemic. The need for a solution is more important than ever now. We support all such initiatives that can help reduce pet homelessness.”

There is a clear and desperate need for a more coordinated effort to address the challenge of pet homelessness in India. Foster families can play a huge role in rehoming, providing temporary homes for lost/injured pets, and also taking the burden off the few, resource-starved shelters. Education around street dogs can play a huge role in reducing stigmas and driving a culture of ownership, vaccinations can reduce animal-human conflict while effective sterilisation can reduce the number of strays on the streets.

Some Indian Facts

The amount of companion animal sterilisation and vaccination is low

The number of veterinarians per capita, specifically for small animal, is very low.

There is a high percentage of diseases in dogs, including rabies, TVT and fleas/ticks

The cost of owning a pet is relatively expensive in India

There is need for stronger enforcement of animal welfare standards and law enforcement against cruelty to animals, especially at local levels of government


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