SC seeks reports from states for sterilisation/vaccination of stray dogs

New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the chief secretaries of states and administrators of union territories to file status report on the sterilisation and vaccination of the stray dogs as provided under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant passed the order as amicus curiae Dushyant Dave told the court that its earlier order seeking the details on the sterilisation and vaccination passed on November 18, 2015, have not been complied by states.

The status report on the sterilisation and vaccination of the stray dogs would sent to the Animal Welfare Board of India with a copy to the apex court. The court fixed next hearing on July 12.

The court also called for details on the number of people who have died on account of dog bites, and what steps have been taken to curb them. It also sought the report on the availability of the resources.

The central government had issued notification for Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 on December 24, 2001, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960. Sub rule 3 of the rule 3 of the notification says that the “street dogs shall be sterilised and immunised by participation of animal welfare organizations, private individuals and the local authority”.

Noting the submission by Dave that though rules providesfor the sterilisation of dogs so that the safety of human beings was not jeopardised buut same was not being done “either for lack of funds or due to apathy”, the court directed that “the dogs which are required to be sterilised or vaccinated, the procedure shall be carried out in accordance with the act and rules and no organisation shall create any kind of obstacle or impediment in the same”.

Telling the court that he himself was a dog lover, Dave said: “I am not for the extermination of dogs, they should be sterilised and other steps be taken including their vaccination.”

The court was told that an increasing number of people were getting bitten by dogs and it was becoming increasingly difficult to move in the public places, with a a special reference to Lodhi Garden here.

He said that it was the fear of the presence of the stay dogs at Lodhi Garden that even foreigners were hesitant of venturing in it for a morning or evening stroll.

Dave said that taking anti-rabies injections was an expensive affair and at time beyond the reach of the common man. The court was told that most of the government hospitals did not have an adequate stock of anti-rabies injections.

He urged the court to ask the state governments to furnish the details on the number of people that have suffered dog bites and the resources available with them to treat them.

Supporting the submission by Dave, senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan told the court that he was bitten by a dog, who was later taken away by the local authorities and sterilised. Sometime later, the same dog again bit him.

Meanwhile, the court was told that since 2007, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) have been paid Rs.23 crore by the government which was insufficient to carry out its mandate. However, it offered to extend all the help in addressing the problem of the growing menace of the stray dogs and people being bitten by them.

Additional Solicitor General P.S.Narasimha told the court that central government had limited role to pay in the matter and it was for the state authorities to take whatever steps they needed to take.

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