57 dogs died in IIT-Madras shelter over 13 months: Govt

Cites lack of proper hygiene and sanitation as reason; AWBI, institution refute findings

Published: 08th December 2021 06:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2021 06:55 AM   |  A+A-

A file photo of dogs on the IIT-Madras campus | EXPRESS

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a shocking reveal, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday informed the Madras High Court that 57 dogs died on the IIT-Madras premises over a period of 13 months, and that some of the deaths could have been avoided had there been proper sanitation and hygiene.

The deaths of the canines – reported between September 2020 and November 2021 – and the abject conditions of the enclosures on the campus, came to light during an inspection by an expert team set up by the State government. The team, consisting of experts from Tamil Nadu Animal Husbandry Department (AHD), Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), and Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS), held inspections on November 29 and 30. The canines caged in the enclosures have been taken care of by an NGO – Jeeva Karunya Animal Welfare Trust (JKAWT).

A status report filed by the Animal Husbandry Department before the High Court said, “There have been 57 deaths in a span of 13 months, which is quite alarming. The committee feels the NGO had failed to take care of the welfare of the dogs.” The submission was made before the first Bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu on Tuesday.

The expert committee noted that major clinical conditions like wounds, respiratory diseases and helminthiasis (worm infection) were found in the treatment register for the dogs, and that these conditions directly point to the poor sanitation and hygiene within the shelters.“The sanitation and hygiene could have been maintained in a manner required... and thus some deaths could have been avoided,” the committee opined.

The panel also noted that the number of dogs under captivity in the premier institute has reduced over a period of time. While the records as on October 4, 2020 showed that there were as many as 186 dogs captured and caged on the premises, the team said they saw only 62 dogs during their visit on November 29, 2021. The management of the institution informed the team that 34 dogs were given for adoption. They, however, refused to share the details on the same.

Contrary to the expert panel’s findings, however, the counsel for AWBI stated that there were no violations of rules in how the dogs were maintained. SR Sundaram, the counsel for AWBI, said the board had constituted a committee, which later inspected the campus premises in February this year. There was no violation or infringement found. Instead, the dogs were being well taken care of, they said.The counsel representing IIT-Madras also objected to the findings of the expert panel.

The Bench said it wanted to resolve the issue, and that corrective measures should be taken without criticising others to save the stray dogs. It said the court is open to allow any organisation to volunteer and take care of the dogs.The Bench further stated that a commission consisting of ‘dog-loving’ advocates would be set up to look into the whole issue. The matter was posted to December 9 for further hearing.


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