Union minister Maneka Gandhi has criticised the Kerala government's decision to kill "dangerous" stray dogs, calling it "unlawful and unscientific", even as she claimed that the move can make other canines even more hostile.
The Union Women and Child Development Minister also asked the Kerala government where the money given to the state for sterilisation of dogs has been spent.
"You say kill, kill, kill. You keep killing and they keep biting. The dog becomes hostile," Gandhi said.
She said the Kerala Cabinet's decision to kill dangerous canines to deal with the dog menace can be misused.
"This is an excuse to kill any dog," she claimed.
"Where is the money given by Animal Welfare Board of India to Kerala for sterilisation of dogs? Where has that gone?" she asked.
Gandhi, who is also an animal rights activist, said that killing dogs is not only unlawful but counter-productive as it will lead to more breeding.
"If you kill the dog, females will breed more. Also, dogs will come from outside. I am totally with the people of Kerala but if you keep killing, you break the law and you continue to do things that do not work," she said.
She said the best solution is to sterilise the dogs.
"If you sterilise the dogs they will be happy, they will be gentle. No sterilised dog ever bites. They will also be vaccinated and the problem will go," Gandhi said.
"Delhi had 5 lakh dogs and that number would never come down. Once we started sterilising the number came down to 70,000 even though the population and waste of Delhi has gone up over the years," she said.
The minister also blamed heavy urbanisation in Kerala leading to more waste generation and rise in number of stray dogs.
"Dogs are scavengers, they come to eat the rats.
Unless you clean up the waste, rats increase. Kerala is very heavily urbanised. There is very little control on the waste.
Unless you deal with the waste, your rats will come, with that dogs will come too," she said.