Tuesday, 13 December 2011

High Court gives green signal for ‘dog-feeding’ sites

Voicing its approval for designated “dog feeding spots” for stray canines in the city, the Delhi High Court on Friday disposed of a bunch of petitions by animal activists. The petitioners had moved the court to seek protection for dogs from “intimidating” residents, so they could be fed without any hassle.

Justice M L Mehta disposed of the petitions after asking the Delhi government, Police department, MCD, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), various residents’ welfare associations and animal rights activists to work in tandem, so feeding spots could be earmarked for canines across the city. He further stated that judicial orders passed in the previous proceedings, relating to creation of designated spaces to feed stray dogs, will attain finality through Monday’s order.

Justice Mehta also asked the RWAs, which had opposed designation of feeding spots in their premises because “it would result in stray dogs biting the residents”, to sort out the contentious issues in consultation with the AWBI and civic authorities.

Advocate Anjali Sharma, appearing for the AWBI, pledged full support to the previous directives of the court and said that sterilisation and vaccination of stray dogs would be possible through feeding and confining dogs to the localities they inhabit.

Sharma further informed the court that the Board was proactively working towards designating dog-feeding spots across the city after due deliberations with the RWAs, local police and civic body officials. The AWBI’s earlier affidavit in court had also clarified that the dogs would be tended only in parts of a colony that are less frequented by the public. Streets, footpaths and entrances to houses would be strictly avoided, it had stated.

A previous court judgement had held that feeding dogs was both lawful and helpful, and would help the civic body sterilise and vaccinate them through the municipal animal birth control programme. The court had passed these orders on petitions filed by animal welfare NGOs from Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, Kalkaji, Neb Sarai, Saket, Geeta Colony and Nangloi — seeking protection while they tend to their dogs.

Seeking the court’s intervention so the government can protect their dogs’ “life and limb”, the petitioners accused the police of “apathy” while acting on their complaints of harassment. While police said it was the civic body’s job to protect canines, animal rights activists cited provisions of the Stray Animal Control Rules (Dogs)-2001, meant to prevent cruelty to street dogs.

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