Chennai collector directs IIT Madras to release stray dogs kept in 'illegal' captivity
However, the institute claimed it was only following the recommendations of the Permanent Committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT)
CHENNAI: The Chennai district collector has directed IIT Madras to release the stray dogs allegedly kept under illegal captivity following a complaint filed by the Indian Welfare Organisation, but the institute claimed it was only following the recommendations of the Permanent Committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
In the complaint, it was alleged that IIT Madras which has captured the stray dogs in the campus for vaccination has not released them even after five months. "As per Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) rules, dogs should be released at the exact location after sterilisation and immunisation after three days but all dogs captured in IIT Madras campus are not yet released," the General Secretary of Indian Welfare Organisation alleged.
Following this, the district collector R Seethalakshmi had written to the IIT Madras director on February 5 requesting to take necessary action to release the dogs immediately.
However, IIT Madras registrar Jane Prasad has defended the institute's action saying, "A dog management process was initiated pursuant to the directions of the NGT, which constituted a permanent committee which among other things shall evolve a long-term management plan to protect wildlife within the campus," she said in the affidavit submitted on March 10 before the Madras High Court bench where People for Cattle in India (PFCI) filed a petition seeking directions to release the dogs.
The registrar claimed in consonance with the Acts and Rules framed by AWBI, IIT Madras has designed a "dog park" -- a separate living space for stray dogs inside the campus covering an area of about 10,935 sq.ft. "Nearly 150 dogs are accommodated in this park. No dogs are chained/restrained/caged. They all roam freely in the dog park."
The official also said the dog park has all the necessary infrastructure along with a dedicated team, including a qualified veterinarian, to take good care of the dogs. Cooked fresh nutritious food along with scrambled egg twice a day is being fed.
"AWBI officials inspected the dog park and were satisfied with the infrastructure provided. The dog park is open for inspection by government authorities. In 2020, 19 deer and 1 blackbuck were rescued and taken to the forest department for treatment, of which 7 deer were injured due to dog bites. After the dog park was designed, in the last two months, only one deer death has been reported due to dog bite/attack. Therefore, to avoid any further death of deer and blackbuck due to dog bites, the NGT appointed Permanent Committee has suggested retaining the dogs in the dog park with proper care and feeding," Jane Prasad said.
As per the survey report, an estimated 265 deer and 31 blackbucks are found in the IIT Madras campus and based on the visible impression, around 58 spotted deer and 2 blackbucks will have fawns shortly.
Interestingly, IIT Madras claims that its campus has been carved out of the Guindy National Park, a protected forest and home to many animals that were not commonly seen in any urban area. However, during previous years when issues of rampant construction activities in the campus were challenged and stay orders were obtained, IIT Madras said permanent land records showed the land classification as 'poromboke' (unassessed wasteland).
The case is coming up before the NGT bench on March 30.