28 Jun 2023 4:18 AM GMT
Citing increase in stray dog attacks in Kerala, especially against children, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR) has approached the Supreme Court seeking directions to curb the menace. The statutory body has filed an intervention application before the Supreme Cour in a pending civil appeal in which the Kannur district panchayat has also filed a plea for...
Citing increase in stray dog attacks in Kerala, especially against children, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR) has approached the Supreme Court seeking directions to curb the menace. The statutory body has filed an intervention application before the Supreme Cour in a pending civil appeal in which the Kannur district panchayat has also filed a plea for a direction to euthanize suspected rabid or extremely dangerous dogs in the district earlier this month.
The Commission has told the Supreme Court that 5794 stray dogs attacks were reported in 2019; 3951 cases in 2020; 7927 cases in 2021; 11776 cases were reported in 2022 and 6276 cases are reported upto 19th June, 2023. The application makes a reference to the recent tragic death of an autistic 11-year old boy named Nihal due to mauling by a pack of street dogs in Kannur on June 11.K
In the application – filed through Advocate Jaimon Andrews – not only has the state commission asked to intervene in the matter but has also recommended the culling or confinement of stray dogs to tackle the problem of the increasing human-dog conflict. The application states:
“Stray dogs can pose a risk to public safety by attacking people or other animals. A confined facilities or culling of stray dogs can reduce the risk of such incidents to an extent. Stray dogs can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as rabies. Confined facilities stray dogs can help to control the spread of such disease. Stray dogs can cause a nuisance by barking and attacking people, damaging property, and creating fear among people, especially children.
Highlighting the increase in the population of stray dogs, the child rights’ commission has lamented that despite the local administration and the state government formulating many schemes, none has been able to find a ‘complete solution’. “As part of the stray dog nuisance prevention plans, sterilisation and anti-rabies vaccinations [are] carried out. However, even after this, they are left in the street and since they do not have proper arrangements for food and shelter, they become a threat and nightmare to children and common people,” the commission has stated, before adding, “It is essential for the safety of children and public welfare that all stray dogs [are] caught and kept in a safe place.”
While praying for the top court to issue urgent directions to “effectively curb stray dog attacks in the state”, the commission has also pointed out that it has received several complaints about the ‘nuisance’ of street dogs and children being fatally bitten by them and has taken suo motu cognisance of several such incidents. “Stray dogs do not have the lame nature of a faithful domesticated dog. It is just like vermin and when they gather their attacking nature is displayed and they become dangerous,” the application states.
Earlier this month, in the wake of an 11-year-old autistic child being mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs in Kerala’s Kannur, the district panchayat filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to humanely euthanise suspected rabid dogs or extremely dangerous dogs to address the uptick in violent attacks by stray dogs in the area.
In the interlocutory application – filed through Advocate-on-Record Biju P Raman – the district panchayat alleged that despite making every effort to control the issue of stray dogs within the local limits, the incidents of stray dog attacks, bites, and road accidents due to dog collision were on the rise, not only in the district but also the entire state of Kerala. The application has been filed in a civil appeal challenging a Kerala High Court judgment of 2015, in which various directions were issued to local authorities to exercise the powers under the provisions of the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Last year, the Kerala Government had also made a similar request before the Supreme Court.
State of Kerala & Ors. v. MR Ajayan & Ors. | IA No. ____ of 2023 in Civil Appeal No. 5947 of 2019