4 drops Ujala keeps stray dogs away? No, really!

Gangtok

An interesting and mysterious trend has gripped Gangtok. No, it’s not about the half-torn jeans trend or that Korean style haircut trend. In fact, it is a house-remedy which according to the scuttlebutt helps keep the menace caused by stray dogs and cats at bay. If you are a Gangtokian you might have seen residents across town hanging some water bottles filled with Indigo [Neer] positioned on the sidewalks, doors and verandahs or even in the gardens of their houses.

The idea is to mix a blue-colored fabric whitener or “Ujala” or what the locals call “Neer” with water and keep the solution in transparent bottles and hang it in the area where the strays usually defecate. To find out how effective the tactic is, Summit Times surveyed and interacted with the residents of Tadong and its surrounding areas.

Nima Sherpa, the first person to successfully use the remedy according to the residents in his locality, said, “I saw several purplish blue water bottles either hanging or positioned infront of shops in Siliguri. When I enquired, they said that it stops dogs and cats from defecating in the area.”

“My house faces the main road and my door and verandah appear to serve as invitations to all the stray dogs and cats to pee or poop,” he shares. He made five such bottles filled with bluish solution and hung them in front of his door and verandah. Within a day or two the strays stopped defecating near his property. Soon, the entire neighborhood was covered with water-bottles filled with blue solutions and the tactic spread all over the region.

“All my neighbors are putting up fresh bottles and the bluish color of my bottles is fading out,” said an irritated Mr. Sherpa.“Now, some dogs have started peeing in my veranda,” he informs. It seems that the bottles only work until the color remains fresh.

Another Tadong resident, Bhanu Gautam adds, “Before the remedy surfaced, my two- storied private parking lot was filled with excreta from dogs and cats. This tactic has solved ninety percent of my problem.” To decode the logic behind this trick, we contacted the veterinarians at Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health Programme [SARAH]. Veterinary experts too admitted that the phenomenon, if true, is puzzling.

According to them, dogs are obedient animals and the bluish bottles affect them psychologically, somehow sending a signal that they are not supposed to defecate or urinate at that spot. “But in the long run, once they realize that the bottles do not pose a threat or hurt them, they will start defecating in the area again,” said a doctor, adding that there is no scientific evidence to prove how the tactic works, or whether it even does. Another doctor confirmed that the blue or purple colors signify sanitized or hygienic areas and hence the animals don’t defecate near that area.

Meanwhile, one study says that for dogs the colour blue signifies source of food and water. Another study conducted in Russia indicated that dogs can distinguish between yellow and blue colors; and are not color blind as traditionally believed.

However, we did not come across any conclusive scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of ‘neer’ bottles. If you’re plagued by the stray-dog problem and are open to new ideas then you can also try sprinkling vinegar around your house or throw some mothballs around, even they seem to work.