Representational Image.
Representational Image.

Why you must watch out for the telltale notch in a dog’s ear

If you are not a big dog fan, you might wonder at the protection given to street dogs in India.

KOCHI: If you are not a big dog fan, you might wonder at the protection given to street dogs in India. Please know this is enshrined both in our Constitution, our animal protection laws and our Supreme Court, and is not because some people love street dogs.  The local corporations are well aware but sometimes the police, politicians and others may miss this, causing huge problems. So as citizens let us be responsible. It’s simpler than you think. Join a Facebook group like Citizens for Animal Birth Control (CABC) where you can be guided what to do, and who to call. 

Street dogs cannot be put down by the local corporations unless they are sick, diseased or rabid. You cannot relocate dogs from their community, as it’s their only source of food and safety. While that is excellent and compassionate but the Supreme Court is also not advocating a proliferation of dogs by any stretch – they direct that the only safe and compassionate way to address dog population is to neuter and  vaccinate.

CMimsy Cubbon Barker flaunting the
notch in his ear

Neutering ensures the dog population is checked and future numbers do not increase. With vaccination, the dogs are safe to human communities as they are rabies protected, as well as to other dogs. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the Supreme Court have directed local city corporations to have the budget and framework to be able to implement this programme on an efficient and compassionate basis. The facility is free to us citizens, so let’s use it.

So whether you love animals or not, there is only one thing you can do responsibly and  legally. Hold BBMP accountable!  Be in close touch with your BBMP local office,  call your zonal Animal Birth Control (ABC) Center to responsibly pick up and neuter or vaccinate your community dogs. Ensure they are returned and are doing well. Check for that telltale notch in the ear – it means that they have gone through the system and are neutered and vaccinated. 

It means there are no more pups from this dog, and that in the unlikely case the dog nips, it’s treated like any wound or abrasion with no chance of contracting rabies.  Ensure they are well fed and integrated and they will be the best companions to you, your pets and neighborhood, in addition to being the best security money can buy. Now that’s good civic sense and you’re following the law.

Responding to the many petitions reaching the Supreme Court of India as result of the local and regional conflicts, most specifically from Kerala, Supreme Court of India, Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh wrote in their November 18, 2015 judgment: “The local authorities have a sacrosanct duty to provide sufficient number of dog pounds, including animal kennels or shelters, which may be managed by the animal welfare organisations.

It is also incumbent upon the local authorities to provide requisite number of 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 or clinical van as mobile center for sterilisation and immunisation; incinerators for disposal of carcasses and periodic repair of shelters or pounds.”

“All the State municipal corporations, municipal committees, district boards and local bodies shall be guided by the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 and it is the duty and obligation of the Animal Welfare Board to see that they are followed with all seriousness,” Misra and Singh continued.
To conclude, they wrote, “Once that is done, we are disposed to think for the present that a balance between compassion to dogs and the lives of human beings, which is appositely called a glorious 
gift of nature, may harmoniously co-exist.” 

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The New Indian Express