Balance required between people’s safety, animal rights: SC on stray dog menace

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Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Balance required between people’s safety, animal rights: SC on stray dog menace” published in Livemint on 10th September 2022.

“Dog dilemma: Awareness key to curb stray dog menace, say experts after baby mauled in Noida” published in Indian Express on 18th October 2022.

What is the News?

While hearing about the issue of the stray dog menace, the Supreme Court of India has recently said that a balance has to be maintained between the safety of people and animal rights.

About the issue of the stray dog menace and the case

According to Lok Sabha data, Delhi has 60,472 stray dogs as of 2019. According to the Animal Husbandry ministry, there were at least 1.53 crore dogs in the streets of India till 2019.

According to a private report, every day 100 to 150 cases of dog bites cases come in Delhi.

The apex court has been hearing a batch of petitions on issues relating to orders passed by various civic bodies on the culling of stray dogs which have become a menace, especially in Kerala and Mumbai.

Some NGOs and individual petitioners have moved the apex court against the decisions by the Bombay High Court and Kerala High Court. They demanded them to allow municipal authorities to deal with the stray dogs menace as per the rules.

What are the recommendations of the court on the stray dog menace?

The Supreme Court said that a rational solution is required to address the stray dog issue.

This issue raises a fundamental issue regarding the rights of wild animals within the society dominated by human beings in general and within the framework of the Constitution of India in particular.

Recommendation of court: People who feed stray dogs could be made responsible for vaccinating them and bearing costs if somebody is attacked by the animal.

What is the existing rule on Animal Birth Control?

The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001: It is an existing guideline to manage the population of strays. But the rules do not talk about the issues of feeding dogs and how disputes over dog bites must be resolved.

Draft Animal Birth Control Rules, 2022: To resolve the disputes over dog bites the Centre earlier this year proposed these rules. Once finalised, these rules will replace the existing ones framed in 2001.

The key features of these rules are, a) Prescribe procedures for the immunisation, vaccination and sterilisation of dogs, b) Proposes the formation of monitoring committees that will take steps to limit the population of strays in an area through animal birth control programmes, c) An animal helpline will be set up by local authorities to resolve complaints of dog bites, d) Address the role of resident welfare associations (RWAs) to end frequent conflicts between dog feeders and other residents.

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