Amid the growing threat of stray dogs in Kerala, an animal rights forum has approached the Supreme Court’s decision to oppose the culling of the dogs. Instead, the forum gave a set of alternative proposals that can be taken to solve the problem.
The an application for intervention has been filed in an appeal challenging the final judgment handed down by the Kerala High Court in which the Court had issued instructions to local authorities allowing them to exercise powers under the provisions of the Animal (Dog) Birth Control Rules, 2001 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
The request filed by Walking Eye Foundation for Animal Advocacy to oppose any grant that would have the effect of inflicting any kind of harm on stray dogs.
“As this Hon’ble Court is to adjudicate matters relating to the culling of stray dogs, the same would have far-reaching consequences for animal welfare and the present plaintiff who is involved in animal welfare in the whole state of Kerala would be a necessary and good party in the present proceeding,” the petition reads.
The plaintiff argued in his application that several laws have been enacted for the purpose of protecting animals in India. The Motion invoking the judgment of Animal Welfare Council of India v A. Nagaraja & Ors. said that “This Honorable Court went on to declare that the following five freedoms were to be read in Sections 3 and 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 – (i) freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition; ii) freedom from fear and distress; iii) freedom from physical and thermal discomfort; iv) freedom from pain, injury and disease; and v) freedom to express normal behavior.”
The claim contended that the State of Kerala, while issuing instructions, failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s instructions in Animal Welfare Board of India vs People for Stray elimination to follow the guidelines issued by the Union of India. The claim also argued that “the Government’s failure to properly implement the Animal (Dog) Birth Control Rules 2001 (hereinafter the “ABC Rules”), the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) 2017, and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules 2018 have led to the current panic situation.” The plaintiff had also argued that he had noticed that fake news related to stray dog bites had sparked fear among the public and had resorted to the illegal killing of dogs.
The applicant pointed out some issues which he believes need to be addressed immediately, animal birth control program not being implemented properly, lack of shelters in Kerala, police failing to take action against the animal cruelty, lack of proper feeding points, lack of veterinary hospitals and ambulances and lack of trained animal handlers.
The organization made the following proposals:
(a). Appropriate investigation of stray dogs, strict application of the ABC 2001 rules and a rabies vaccination campaign must be carried out in all places with immediate effect;
(b). Direct the respective departments to implement the existing orders, rules and judicial acts with immediate effect;
(vs). Strict implementation of pet surveys, pet licensing and microchipping to reduce further abandonment;
(D). Compulsory sterilization of owner dogs that do not have a breeding license;
(e). The police department will file an FIR on all reported animal cruelty so the number of cruelty cases can be reduced
(F). Sanctioning more funds to registered animal welfare organizations for building shelters and purchasing ambulances to carry out animal rescue and rehabilitation activities;
(g). Construction of animal shelters in each panchayat/municipality/society to house sick, blind, elderly, handicapped or paralyzed dogs;
(h). Boarding or inpatient facilities that can accommodate a minimum of 50 dogs at a time, to be provided in public hospitals;
(I). Provision of feeding points at various locations and provision of quality feed at designated feeding points with the assistance of animal handlers;
(j). Ordering the Ministry of Health to shut down all illegal slaughterhouses in the state to prevent the availability of raw meat and the contamination of water bodies through improper waste disposal;
(k). Authorization of more animal ambulances and at least one ambulance can be made available in each district and its operation must be user-friendly;
(I). Crematoria exclusively intended for the elimination of carcasses to be built in each district;
(m). Awareness programs, webinars, seminars and workshops will be held to reduce human-animal conflict with the help of registered animal welfare organizations and the national animal welfare council;
(not). Order the Kerala State Animal Welfare Board to hold an immediate board meeting to resolve the above issue.
The claim was drafted by Solicitor Kartik SD, settled by Senior Solicitor V Chitambaresh and filed through Solicitor John Mathew.
The case was mentioned by lawyer VK Biju in the Supreme Court where the seat agreed to register the case on September 9. The lawyer pointed to the recent spike in stray dog bites in the state and mentioned that a 12-year-old girl is fighting for her life after being attacked and said “Kerala has become dog country to from the land of the gods”. The attorney requested to seek the current status from Judge Siri Jagan’s Commission.
In 2016, Judge Siri Jagan’s commission submitted a report to the Supreme Court that said the “excessive” stray dog population will continue to pose a “very serious threat” to public safety unless reduced to a “level manageable”.
The case is scheduled for tomorrow to be heard before a panel composed of Judges Sanjiv Khanna and JK Maheshwari.
Case Title: State of Kerala v MR Ajayan CA 5947/2019