NEW DELHI: Last month, a 60-year-old NRI was bitten by a stray dog while he was walking near his home in Moti Bagh. Shocked to see stray dogs roaming around the posh area freely, he complained to New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
The council took the dog to an NGO for three days, but the canine was released in the same place a few days back and attacked more people.
The stray dog menace is alarming because on an average, the city witnesses around 300 cases of dog bites a month. Even though NDMC alone receives nearly 100 complaints a month, the dog catching squad members claim that the real figure is far more.
But even as the numbers rise, the corporation doesn’t have much to do. The civic body officials claim that whenever they try to tackle the situation, they come under the wrath of the animal right activists. “We are caught between the residents complaining about stray dogs and the animal right activists. The dog catching squad members fear for their jobs as we are threatened about transfers. That’s why, we can’t even take the dogs for sterilisation,” medical superintendent at NDMC veterinary hospital, Moti Bagh, Pramod Singh told The Sunday Standard.
But things don’t end there. Even though the NDMC receives regular complaints to remove the dogs from the area, the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, restricts them from doing so. The rule doesn’t allow the canines to be removed from any property. The request to build a dog sanctuary for problematic dogs was also not approved as the NGOs protested against it.
“The dog feeding should stop. Some senior bureaucrats even threaten us of dire consequences if we try to take the dogs for sterilisation. In such conditions, we have no other option but to leave the complaints unaddressed,” said another NDMC officer.
Even as the ABC Rule clearly mentions that the street dogs shall be sterilised and immunised by participation of animal welfare organisations, the NDMC officials allege that the NGOs do not cooperate with them.
The ABC rule, framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, also states that sterilised dogs are to be released back in the same place where they were picked up from, but most of the time people do not want that. Such situations lead to more trouble for the NDMC. “The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWB) too drag us to the court often,” a senior official said.
Recently, the Supreme Court said that the indiscriminate killing of dogs was not warranted.
It stated that municipal authorities, district boards would be required to abide by the laws related to stray dogs and restrained high courts from passing any orders in relation to stray dogs.