Ayesha Chundrigar is vaccinating Karachi's dogs but she needs your help

Ayesha Chundrigar is vaccinating Karachi's dogs but she needs your help

She wants to start conversations with people on animal abuse and empathy.
06 Apr, 2021

Ayesha Chundrigar and her soldiers at ACF have taken to Karachi’s streets yet again, fighting their next battle, waving a banner reading “Save the Dogs”. The battle promises to be a tough one.

The effort here is twofold. On one hand, ACF’s challenge is the common man, who is unaware, poverty-ridden and eccentric — a product of the generational trauma and aggression we know but too well here in the third world. The solution here is education. And on the other hand, they tackle the lazy, inefficient, and neglectful authorities who see no money or power in protecting stray animals, and hence no motivation. The solution here is…well, they're still looking for one.

What we’re left with then, is a small team of devotees, stretched thin on the streets and along the nullahs of Karachi, making efforts they’re not sure will change the fate of stray dogs, but deeply motivated by the immediate impact they create.

Images sat down with Chundrigar to discuss her latest campaign in which she neuters and vaccinates stray dogs.

The fundamental philosophy here, as Chundrigar explained, is the idea that violence — which arises internally from the very human experiences of dissatisfaction, neglect, exploitation, and trauma — is passed on, human to human, generation to generation; by perpetuating the same aggression that breeds one’s own violence.

Psychology today has presented us with conclusive evidence that those who are subjected to harsh aggression are likelier to be aggressive themselves, with their frustrations often mounting up to expression in physical, sexual or emotional assault. Chunridgar, a student of psychology herself, understands this, and is dedicated to proceed with the caution that her effort requires.

“Most of our work is going around talking to people, trying to help them understand that these dogs aren’t enemies. They’re just scared and threatened themselves. If you treat them with love and respect, you will see that they’re so playful and loving,” she said.

In many cases, Chundrigar said these people are just grossly unaware. When she and her team enter neighborhoods to help dogs, the locals are often very co-operative. Seeing this group of dedicated men and women provides them with reason and motivation to help. And in several cases, stray dogs had been adopted by entire neighborhoods as pets.

In some ways, just by being on the streets saving dogs, the people at ACF are humanising the population. One can only imagine how the changes such efforts are bringing in their hearts reflect positively in their personal lives.

“When they see all these women in a group walking through the streets, chasing dogs, and our team members getting dirty going down in nullahs or wastelands, the locals come in and help us. They see us working, and want to contribute. They sometime bring us drinks and refreshments.”

However, that is not to say that dogs (or any animal for that matter) are particularly safe and loved in our society. It’s a positive anecdote, but it doesn’t explain why the vast majority of our dogs are either malnourished and dying, or dead already.

“I have, with my own eyes, seen someone kick a sleeping dog while passing by on their motorbike. I’ve seen people throw stones at them, hurting them brutally.”

Chundrigar puts the problem down to the perception of dogs in our culture, urging the need to change this.

“These are stray dogs, their homes are the streets. Sure we must neuter and vaccinate them, but then we should send them back,” she emphasised, finishing with “They will live their lives on the streets, it’s where they belong.”

Under Save The Dogs, the ACF team visits a neighborhood where their "reporters" have already told them about the presence of a pack of dogs. They have some idea before going down there, like a general estimate of their number, health conditions and possible threats. The real work though, begins once they reach the site. They must then observe the pack and learn about them to tackle the problem effectively.

“In most cases it is the alpha dog that is violent and creating problems. We have, in our experience, learnt that extracting the alpha from the pack always helps. We have a special facility where we take them, but it’s not a permanent solution. The solution is neutering and vaccinating these dogs, so that they can go back on the streets” she explained.

They also collect females and healthy puppies from neighborhoods and bring them temporarily into their facility provided by a generous donor to protect them. Under the same Save The Dogs campaign, they have also been vaccinating dogs and tagging them with neon green collars provided by the Indus Hospital. These dogs are then let back on the streets.

Culling, or slaughter as it should rightfully be called, does strike a chord with Chundrigar. I could sense a genuine change in her voice when we got to this stage of the conversation.

“We are seeing that they’re poisoning our vaccinated dogs. Why would anyone do this? Why would they kill an animal?”

Chundrigar continually pressed on the urgency to initiate dialogue, to help bring about awareness among people. “They aren’t bad people. In many cases, they just don’t know any better,” she said of ordinary people who hurt animals on the streets.

She believes we must initiate a conversation with these people humbly, by understanding other people and tailoring our points to them therefore humanising them in the process. There is no moral high ground in knowing better as a result of privilege, we agree, and assuming one only to put someone down is an act of great cowardice.

If you want to help Ayesha Chundrigar and her friends at ACF, four-legged or otherwise, you can share their social media content. “We put in great effort into our content. We try not to make it too preachy or self-righteous, and instead try to make them jolly and full of smiles. It does get ugly at times, but we must raise awareness. It’s our job.”

Their work is tedious, laboursome and capital intensive. You can always help them financially, though if you can’t make such a contribution, but still wish to contribute, volunteer! They’re continuing their work into Ramazan, and will be active after iftar, so you can reach out!


Zeba Farookhi Apr 06, 2021 03:00pm
Thankyou Ayesha for looking after these animals.
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khalid Apr 06, 2021 03:36pm
Very proud of the work this foundation and work these volunteers are doing. Otherwise, these dogs are always kicked and beate (due to lack of education). Similarly, donkeys and horses are also abused. Please follow Islam and be kind to All creatures and get the street kids eductation as well. Is there a comaign to save the street kids and underage workers?
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M. Saeed Apr 06, 2021 03:40pm
But, there are many street children and garbage eaters living along these animals? Are they worse than these stray dogs who have no foundations like this ACF?
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It's me Apr 06, 2021 03:50pm
The basic model is flawed. Is the neutering matching up with the number of off springs being produced otherwise? She ain't ligating the tubes of females and only males are being neutered. A litter size of stray dogs can range anywhere from 5 to 8. Unless and until mass neutering is performed, her model is a failure and just a news grabbing tactic. On the contrary she should utilize the services of animal control to pick up all females off the street to shelters and release them back once most males have been neutered. I suggest this since she is not utilizing spaying services since that might involve a longer procedure and is costly. Anything short of this is just pointless. She is attempting humane approach but it won't lead to any meaningful results if not done the right way.
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Abdul Moiz Abbasi Apr 06, 2021 03:57pm
A great thing. I wish our government could do something like this across the country. Dogs need to be vaccinated, and not killed. We should care for our animals, not hurt them. If we had local government systems, they could perform this function. Istanbul is a good example in this regard.
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Shah Apr 06, 2021 04:06pm
These actions look good in countries where all citizens are having a good life. First help poor people who can't afford a good meal. Help them be employed and have a good life. Rich people care about animals but don't care about people.
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realistic Apr 06, 2021 04:10pm
Kill these stray dogs. They attack people. Stop the drama, take care of human beings first
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Mahnaz Ghalib Apr 06, 2021 04:15pm
About time! That's really heartening to hear that stray dogs are getting help. Great effort by the whole team involved
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Arif Apr 06, 2021 05:09pm
@khalid just give shelter to one of them at your home so that they don't bite any young kid.
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Khayyam James Hussain Apr 06, 2021 05:22pm
An extraordinary woman; on a remarkable journey. More power to her.
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AAhmed Apr 06, 2021 05:43pm
@Shah people should help themselves, looking towards the government for everything is not how nations rise. Self-help, help others, and create social change. Always looking for someone to come and change your circumstances is shameful behavior.
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Jamil Apr 06, 2021 07:12pm
What about children, do they also have three capability to understand stray dog behaviour? Hundreds of thousands of children are mauled by dogs in Pakistan every year. I don't think these solutions are plausible.
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Tahir malik Apr 06, 2021 07:27pm
Save children first
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Desi Apr 06, 2021 08:13pm
She is helping the dogs and trying to do some good. But can she answer how many poor and needy people has she helped? Has she fed even a single orphan kid who goes to sleep hungry, has she provided to clothes to someone who has barely any clothes on their backs? Helping dogs is commendable but priorities are wrong. What is more important, helping poor human being or helping dogs?
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Parvez Apr 06, 2021 10:07pm
I wish we had a hundred more like her......
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Sonia Apr 06, 2021 10:54pm
@It actually they do spay females as well. You should check out their Instagram stories. Very informative. Also they’ve been doing great work for years by treating injured animals and rehabilitating them. Atleast someone is doing something for animals. Also slaughtering animals isn’t “the right way”. This is literally a way to prevent more dogs from coming on the streets while allowing those already existing to live. And they’re doing A LOT with very little resources. You only get recognised in the news if you’re doing something really awesome which they are. Lmao haters.
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AC Apr 06, 2021 10:57pm
@It we do pick up the females to spay them. It’s written in the article. It’s only flawed if everyone else doesn’t follow suit.
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Laila Apr 06, 2021 11:29pm
@Shah who is stopping you from helping poor people? Get offline, go out and meet and help average poor Pakistanis. They are waiting for you on the streets, in impoverished areas, in and outside hospital emergency units. If you want change then start with yourself.
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Laila Apr 06, 2021 11:32pm
@Tahir malik who is stopping you from saving children? You can go out and sponsor a child and it's education, or adopt an orphan or handicapped child, or help a child to eat 3 meals s day and not have to labour in slave like condutions in factories, mines, transportation etc. Go help children. Nobody is stopping you.
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Aisha Apr 07, 2021 12:05am
@M. Saeed why are human so selfish? There are thousands of organisations helping people around the country. And this is the only organisation which is helping stray and helpless animals. And you are asking why? Those kids are their parents responsibility they have hands and legs they can work unlike these animals so stop being selfish and have some sense educate yourself!!!
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PakistaniFirst Apr 07, 2021 02:50am
@M. Saeed typical response - what have you done for the street children troll!
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Sameer Apr 07, 2021 05:56am
Aysha Chundrigar, not all heroes wear capes.
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Babar Apr 07, 2021 04:09pm
She should go a meet the cases of dog bites every day in hospitals 80 per day reported
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PakistaniFirst Apr 07, 2021 07:22pm
@realistic stop reproducing and we wont have any issues
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PakistaniFirst Apr 07, 2021 07:22pm
@Jamil stop having kids your children only contribute to the degradation of our planet
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Jey Apr 07, 2021 09:10pm
@Desi please go to their page. They distribute rashan every Ramadan to poor and needy. If some one is doing good and you you are unable to appreciate them then please don't criticize their good deeds.
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Jey Apr 07, 2021 09:17pm
Proud of you ACF. Inspired by Ayesha❤️ atleast someone cares for those who can't speak for themselves.
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Arshaque Memon Apr 09, 2021 01:07am
Great work. Please consider visiting block 2, Clifton. There are alot of stray dogs here who may benefit from your efforts. Regards.
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