21 Oct 2022 3:46 PM GMT
The Bombay High Court's Nagpur bench on Thursday issued a slew of directions regarding feeding of stray dogs and also directed civic officials and the police to take "stern action" against anyone obstructing them acting against the menace of stray dogs.The court ordered that people interested in feeding strays must first formally adopt them and only feed them inside their homes. The...
The Bombay High Court's Nagpur bench on Thursday issued a slew of directions regarding feeding of stray dogs and also directed civic officials and the police to take "stern action" against anyone obstructing them acting against the menace of stray dogs.
The court ordered that people interested in feeding strays must first formally adopt them and only feed them inside their homes.
The division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Pansare passed the order in a 2006 PIL filed by activist Vijay Talewar through advocate Firdos Mirza seeking action against the dog menace.
"We direct in general that no citizen and no resident of Nagpur and areas surrounding it shall feed or make any attempt to feed the stray dogs in public places, gardens… If any person is interested in feeding stray dogs, he shall first adopt the stray dog/bitch, bring it to home, register it with Municipal Authorities or put it in some dogs shelter home and then showering his love and affection on it, may feed it while taking it's personal care in all respect."
The court added that "real charity lies in taking the complete care and not just feeding and then leaving poor creatures to fend for themselves."
The bench directed the Commissioner, Nagpur Municipal Corporation to impose a penalty of not more than Rs 200 on persons found feeding dogs in public places.
"We further direct the Commissioner, Nagpur Municipal Corporation to ensure that, no feeding of street dogs takes place at any place except at the own place of the dog feeder or in the dog shelter homes or any other authorised place and we also direct him to impose appropriate penalty for any breach of these directions, which penalty may not be more than of Rs.200/- for every breach as per the resolution already passed in this behalf by Nagpur Municipal Corporation"
It court lamented the effects of animal lovers feeding goodies to the dog have on them. "These supposed friends of stray dogs do not realise the disastrous consequences of their charity. Fed on the goodies provided by the animal lover, many of the stray dogs become insolent and get even more violent in their behaviour towards human beings in general and children in particular."
The bench further directed the Commissioner, NMC to consider implementing directions given by the Full Bench of HC in the case of All India Animal Welfare Association regarding identifying a suitable plot for a stray dog shelter home, "well equipped with sufficient manpower and all the facilities required for upkeep and maintenance of the dogs."
"After all, one cannot forget that basically dog is the best friend of man and therefore, we must take it as duty of each one of us to take proper care of the dogs/bitches, whether they are reared as our pets or allowed to grow up in the streets.".
While the Court said that the dogs are generally best friends of man, the same view has to be taken with circumspection when it comes to stray dogs, as some of them re aggressive and ferocious :
"This is not to say that there is something wrong about the view that dog generally is the best friend of man but, this has to be taken with circumspection when it comes to dogs which are strays and which are not kept as pets. Many of these strays are aggressive, ferociously wild and simply uncontrollable in their behaviour. Therefore, there is a need for the authorities to take charge of the matter, as required under the law and also the need for the Samaritans to come forward and render their assistance to the authorities in controlling the stray dog hazard".
The bench further directed public awareness campaigns to sensitize the citizenry about their respective duties and responsibilities under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.
"We further direct that if there is any instance of creating hurdles and obstacles in the way of the authorities and their officers in performing their duties as required under this order and also the applicable Rules, stern action be taken against the persons creating such hurdles and obstacles and in suitable cases, appropriate offences also be registered against them."
The matter was taken up after the Supreme court clarified earlier this month that there was no bar on High Courts hearing petitions pertaining to stray dogs pending before it. An intervention application was filed by one Dhantoli Nagrik Mandal.
According to the petitioner, stray dogs had become a menace in Dhantoli and Congress Nagar areas or Nagpur but nothing was being done to control it despite a 2006 order of retd Justice JN Patel. While a local corporator tried translocating the dogs with NMC's help activists would often cite the Supreme Courts orders.
The bench observed that if the directions given in All India Animal Welfare Association case are followed it would help in eliminating the nuisance of stray dogs without any cruelty to the stray dogs. This includes a Monitoring Committee as well as Dog Control Cell, online facility to take complaints of stray dogs' nuisance. Moreover, a mobile number and Twitter handle to take complaints on social media.
Click here to read/download the order