The High Court of Kerala has finally disposed of Writ petitions and Public Interest Litigations on the issue of stray dog menace. The division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A. M. Shaffique, in a detailed judgement gave eight point directives to the state and local authorities to address the menace.
The court held that the local authorities can take a decision to kill stray dogs only in accordance with the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and rules made there under. It added that the local authorities have no discretionary power to take a decision to destroy all the stray dogs in any manner and are obliged to follow the rules regarding the same.
The court directed the local authorities to exercise the power of capturing of stray dogs and take immediate action on receipt of complaint. The court also directed the local authorities to form monitoring committee within two weeks and follow the directions given by them with respect to destruction of stray dogs. After consultation with this committee, the local authorities are directed to set up a Dog Control Cells to receive complaints about dog menace, dog bites and information about rabid dogs. Public notice of such Dog Control Cells shall also be given by the local authority.
The division bench further called for creation of dog ponds, dog vans and dog catchers’ ambulance cum clinical van as required by the rules at the earliest. It also called for strict implementation of Government order regarding vaccination and sterilisation of stray dogs.
The state Government and the local authorities are also asked to ensure that veterinary hospitals are to be set up in all districts. The Animal welfare board of India is also asked to provide financial assistance for construction of animal shelters and rescue homes.
The court, in its judgement also expressed its gratitude towards Advocate Basil Attipetty, who passed away on 3.11.2015, for his assistance in this issue. He was also one among many who filed PILs to bring to the notice of the court, the dangerous situation prevailing in many areas of the state due to the attack by stray dogs.