New Delhi: Asking for harmonious coexistence between human beings and dogs, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said indiscriminate killing of dogs was not warranted.
It added that all state municipal authorities, district boards and local authorities would be required to abide by the laws related to stray dogs and restrained high courts from passing any orders in relation to stray dogs.
The court said that local authorities had a “sacrosanct duty” to provide the requisite infrastructure, like sufficient number of dog pounds, including animal kennels and shelters, dog vans with ramps for the capture and transportation of street dogs; one driver and two trained dog catchers for each dog van; an ambulance-cum-clinical van as mobile centre for sterlisation and immunisation; incinerators for disposal of carcasses and periodic repair of shelter or pound.
However, the bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and S.K. Singh said, “The lives of the human beings are to be saved and one should not suffer due to dog bite because of administrative lapse.”
The court relied on two laws, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001, to deliver its order. This is a temporary order which will remain in force till the time the court hears the case finally. The next date for hearing the case is 9 March 2016.
Humane Society International, India welcomed the Supreme Court order to implement the Animal Birth Control (ABC) program to control the street dog population in all states of India.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court of India has reiterated that an ABC program is the only effective way to curb stray dog population. HSI/India urges all states to ensure that the Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001 rules are implemented in letter and in spirit,” said N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of Humane Society International (HSI)/India, a non-profit organisation.
The 1960 Act mandates that “unwanted animals” would be killed or destroyed “either instantaneously or after being rendered insensible to pain or suffering” whenever it was deemed necessary.
The Supreme Court was considering several petitions, including one challenging the Kerala high court’s orders directing killing of stray dogs.