Need balance between empathy for stray dogs, safety of humans: SC

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) Holding that there was a need to strike balance between empathy for stray dogs and safety of humans, the Supreme Court on Wednesday permitted municipal bodies to kill irretrievably ill and wounded stray dogs suffering from rabies, in accordance with the laws.

Permitting municipal bodies to go ahead with the elimination of dangerous dogs under provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Animal Birth Control Rules 2001, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said the life of a dog was not more important than that of a human.

“We are disposed to think for the present that a balance between compassion to dogs and the lives of human beings, which is called a glorious gift of nature, may harmoniously co-exist,” the court said, giving the go-ahead to the killing of stray dogs that have become a menace to people.

Allowing local bodies in states and union territories to go ahead with the elimination of dangerous stray dogs, the court made it clear that its order would override any contrary order by any of the high courts.

“We would also request all the high courts not to pass any order relating to the 1960 Act and the 2001 Rules pertaining to dogs. Needless to say, all concerned as mentioned herein, shall carry out this order and file their respective affidavits as directed,” the court said.

The court in the last hearing on October 26 had said: “These rules (Animal Birth Control Rules 2001) have not been declared unconstitutional. If rules are there, then they have to be followed, and any killing of dogs has to done according to the rules.”

While seeking details from the states on the number of cases of dog bites and the killing of dangerous stray dogs, the court also sought details on the steps taken by them for the welfare of dogs.

The court order came during the hearing of a batch of petitions, including one by Anupam Tripathi contesting the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation (TMC) decision on mass culling of stray dogs.

The Animal Welfare Board of India too moved the court in the matter.

Tripathi moved the apex court challenging the Kerala High Court order approving the TMC decision to cull stray dogs.

Culling of stray dogs is being carried out in Kerala following an all-party meeting where it was decided that more than 2.5 lakh street dogs should be eliminated.

Petitioner Tripathi contended that the decision to cull stray dogs was against laws.

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