SC Suggested Kerala Govt to Look for Neutral Grounds for Resolving Issues of Stray Dog  Problem in Accordance with Animal Rights

Dog Law Insider

Prerna Gala

Published on: 10 September, 2022 at 19:27 IST

In its Friday oral recommendation [Animal Welfare Board of India vs People for Elimination of Stray Troubles and ors], the Supreme Court said that Kerala should seek a compromise to address the stray dog problem while balancing it with animal rights.

Justices Sanjiv Khanna and JK Maheshwari’s bench emphasised the need for a solution to the stray dog problem. The matter was postponed until September 28, for the issuance of interim orders.

It further argued that the State should abide by all pertinent laws and regulations pertaining to animal welfare.

The case’s interlocutory applications, submitted by several animal rights organisations, were all granted, and the parties were allowed to submit answers and synopses.

In his oral observations, Justice Khanna expressed his love of dogs.

Most of us are dog lovers. I also feed dogs … Have to find a rational way out. I also walk dogs. Some are ferocious. Have to segregate those.

He opposed the idea of implanting chips to track them and suggested having volunteers take care of stray dogs, including immunising them.

The Kerala government’s attorney, VK Biju, stated at the opening that the case has been pending for five years. 

Senior Attorney V Giri, who was also representing the State government, said:

“The correctness of the judgment is open to question. There are statutory rules. Your lordships may consider the appeal [itself].”

To which the Bench responded by saying, “...We have to find a balancing way out. Statutory rules can be modified.

Anand Grover, an attorney representing the Animal Welfare Board of India, requested that a legal committee be established to investigate the situation.

The Bench acknowledged the severity of the problem, noting that some stray animals “can become ferocious, sometimes because of hunger. We can’t put them to sleep but for the rabies-infected ones.”

Biju cited the findings of a commission that had been established previously to investigate the stray dog problem, which stated that “women, children, and daily-wagers were the ones deemed to be the most affected by the incidences.”

He made reference to the recent incident of a 12-year-old girl who died from rabies after being bitten by a dog, despite having received the necessary vaccination.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Animal Birth Control Guidelines of 2001 were mentioned by the Bench as a temporary solution, saying that the State should adhere to the Central legislation and rules. The State’s attorney objected to this.

The Bench next noted that, “Which rules will be in play is to be determined, that’s difficult.”

The Kerala High Court’s 2006 decision enabling local self-government institutions to kill stray dogs was being challenged in a plea brought by the Animal Welfare Board of India, which was being heard by the Bench.

The petition was submitted in response to the Kerala government’s decision to put an end to stray dogs in 2015 following a string of canine attacks on humans. The petitioners cited a temporary order issued by the Supreme Court that suspended a decision by the Bombay High Court that permitted the killing of stray dogs.

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