Stray dog attacks: Kerala moves SC seeking to permit euthanasia or culling of rabies-infected dogs

The government stated that it had conducted detailed discussions regarding the control of stray dog bites and prevention of bite victims getting infected by rabies.

Published: 27th September 2022 12:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2022 04:07 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

KOCHI: At a time when the stray dog menace is on the rise in the state, the Kerala government on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court seeking to permit euthanasia or culling of violent and vicious stray dogs, in particular, dogs suspected of having contracted rabies.

The petition pointed out that "one issue is pertaining to the matter of rabid/feral dogs. While the State Act and Rules provide for ‘destruction of dogs’ that are violent or rabid, no culling is undertaken currently as it is regarded as contrary to the Central Rules. When there is a zoonotic disease outbreak, the culling of animals or birds (for bird flu or swine flu) is undertaken to prevent the spread. However, in the case of rabid dogs, they are only to be isolated till they die."

The government stated that it had conducted detailed discussions regarding the control of stray dog bites and prevention of bite victims getting infected by rabies and also evaluated the progress of previous ministerial-level meetings.

Orders were issued to resolve the state of affairs by carrying out immediate action based on the decisions to solve the issues caused by stray dogs in the state by forming an immediate action plan at the local government level. The government also decided to identify hotspots where there has been an increased incidence of dog bites among animals and humans. Vaccination drives across all LSGS with saturation focus in the hotspots. Temporary shelters/cages to take ferocious dogs off the street with arrangements for feeding and care. It also decided to conduct a cleanliness drive to tackle wet waste particularly meat waste in public places or the wayside, which lead to the congregation of dogs for food.

Alternate arrangements through community-based committees at the LSG level to provide food for the dogs to be made, taking the support of dog lovers, hoteliers, kennel owners, etc. The state has also instructed escalation of pet dog registration (and vaccination) and LSG level committees of all local stakeholders are constituted to ensure the above. Action has also been initiated to scale up the ABC programme activities of the state within the existing restrictions.

Permit Kudumbashree to implement the ABC programme

The government also cited another issue which is the withdrawal of Kudumbashree Units from the ABC programme following the interim order by the High Court of Kerala, bringing the ABC programme to a complete halt in eight districts. The High Court had issued an order restraining the inclusion of Kudumbashree as an implementing agency for the Animal Birth Control Project which was being conducted to prevent the increase in the number of stray dogs.

The reason was the lack of certification by the Animal Welfare Board of India. This certification of AWBI had been denied on account of the gap in infrastructural facilities as per the terms and conditions of the guidelines.  At present, the permission to conduct the ABC program shall only be given to the agencies which have the certification of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Kudumbasree has taken the necessary steps to obtain that certification from AWBI – some additional infrastructural requirements are to be met to satisfy the conditions stipulated. But the emergent situation warrants an immediate restoration of the ABC programme, and enhancement of its reach so that the problem of stray dogs can be permanently resolved. It is a fact that there are hardly any AWBI-certified organizations to undertake the
activities of the programme in Kerala.

Hence, the government sought to permit the Kudumbashree units trained in the ABC programme to undertake the Animal Birth Control programme to tide over the present crisis.



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