Why Dogs are being Murdered?

Many of us would have used the phrase "die like a dog" to describe a shameful death but it may not be honourable to kill a dog. Whether it is lawful to kill dogs merely because they are homeless is a question set to be answered by the Supreme Court.

A bench presided over by Justice Dipak Misra has already issued notice on a petition challenging Kerala government's decision to kill stray dogs. The decision by the top court is expected to settle the debate which keeps resurfacing on account of apparent anomalies and conflicting provisions in law.

While the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, read with the rules, seems to bar indiscriminate killing of stray dogs, controversy over culling of homeless dogs keeps surfacing time and again as municipal laws in some states permit authorities to resort to killing to deal with the menace of stay dogs. Though an interpretation by the court would resolve the conflict, the government also needs to revisit the 1960 law which seems to be unkind to dogs.

Dogs seem to have been discriminated against under Section 11(3) of the PCA Act Section 11(3) lists exceptions to Sections 11(1) and 11(2) which protect animals against injuries and cruel treatment by making such acts penal offences punishable with fine or imprisonment.

Section 11(3)(b) states that penal action would not be attracted in case of "destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers or by such other methods as may be prescribed". The lawmakers could have avoided the provision in view of the exception under Section 11(3)(c) which covers "extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law for the time being in force". Apart from singling out dogs as against other animals, Section 11(3)(b) of the 1960 PCA Act virtually permits killing of dogs merely for being homeless.

Though Section 11(3)(b) now needs to be interpreted harmoniously with the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001 which permits killing of only "incurably ill" and "mortally wounded" street dogs, the Act can do without the provision which, when read in isolation, justifies municipal laws permitting indiscriminate culling of street dogs.

Rule 9 of the Rules framed under the PCA Act permits euthanasia in a humane manner for incurably ill and mortally wounded dogs and Rule 10 provides for isolation of a rabid dog till death which normally takes place within ten days of contracting the fatal disease.

While it is necessary to protect stray dogs from indiscriminate killing, the concern over violent street dogs attacking people and endangering human lives cannot altogether be ignored.

On August 4, a child died after being attacked by dogs in Jamia Nagar in Delhi. Taking cognisance of the matter, the National Human Rights Commission observed that dropping back stray dogs after sterilisation does not shield people from attacks. The panel rightly called for a "human rights" versus "animal rights" debate but its observations show it may have committed a mistake by talking about stray dogs in general rather than singling out dogs with violent behaviour.

To strike a balance between human and animal rights, it is imperative not to target all stray dogs. Similar mistakes have been committed by municipal authorities in the past. There have been controversies in the past over municipal authorities in Bombay, Goa, Bangalore and some other cities deciding to kill stray dogs. There have also been instances of debates being initiated following refusal by municipal authorities to kill stray dogs.

The solution should be found within the framework of law, the 2001 Rules and constitutional principles. True, the rules do not directly talk of killing violent dogs but it talks of dog pounds where they could be kept. more  

Pay relief to those bitten by dogs: Supreme CourtAmit Anand Choudhary,TNN | Dec 1, 2015, 06.17 AM IST 51 comments 1 inShare Share More A A READ MORE Supreme Court of India|Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act|dog bite|Animal Welfare Board Pay relief to those bitten by dogs: Supreme Court Every year more than one lakh incidents of stray dog bites are reported in the country and 11 people died due to rabies in the first six months in 2015. RELATED Kerala HC says local bodies to act against stray dogs in line with le...Dog breeder booked for crueltySangh parivaar calls for ban on cow slaughterChennai reacts to the SC ruling on stray dogsNMC’s stray dog relocation system illegal, says AWBI NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over increasing number incidents of children being bitten by stray dogs, the Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre on how to control the menace and provide free treatment and anti-rabies medicine to the victims. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said the state governments and local municipal bodies should be held accountable for not controlling stray dogs and the victims should be paid compensation by them. The court's order came on a PIL filed by Kerala-based NGO Aluva Janaseva which works for child rights. Advocate V K Biju, appearing for the NGO, told the bench that every year more than one lakh incidents of stray dog bites are reported in the country and 11 people died due to rabies in the first six months in 2015. He said children need to be protected from stray dogs as they are easy targets. "There have been frequent incidents of stray dogs attacking and biting school children, aged persons, pedestrians and morning walkers across the country. The increase in stray dog population in public places such as hospitals, railway stations, bus stands is causing panic to the public," he said. Agreeing to hear the plea, the bench said the government needed to frame a policy to protect children from stray dogs. "Appreciating the submission that the children are fundamental embodiment of human race and they deserve protection from any kind of attack by the stray dogs, we are inclined to issue notice," the bench said and directed the Centre and Kerala government to file their response within four weeks. The bench also sought response on how to implement effective vaccination and sterilization for stray dogs for controlling their population. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act allows Animal Welfare Board to take all such steps as the Board may think fit to ensure that unwanted animals are eliminated by the local authorities. Section 99(f) empowers the Board to kill stray animals either instantaneously or after being rendered insensible to pain or suffering. The petitioner alleged that sufficient anti-rabies vaccines are not being supplied in government hospitals and the victims have to purchase the medicines from the market costing more than Rs 8000 which the poor cannot afford. "It is a fact that lakhs of children are wandering in the streets all over India. These children were continuously under attack of dangerous stray dogs. None of the government authrities, including the Centre and state governments, is taking any step for the protection of these children. Therefore the court must intervene and direct the governments to provide free medicines and treatment at private as well government hospitals," the petitioner said. more  
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