Feeding stray dogs should be allowed, but people can ensure vaccinations, SC observes

The bench observed that there is a need to create a balance between people who feed stray dogs and also protect innocent people from being attacked.
Representative image of street dogs
Representative image of street dogs
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Hearing the issue over stray dog attacks in the state of Kerala, the Supreme Court on Friday, September 9, called for a status report by the Justice Siri Jagan Commission, which was constituted on 2016 by apex court to look into complaints of dog bites. Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice JK Maheshwari were hearing appeals against the 2015 Kerala judgment which allowed for the capturing and culling of stray dogs. The court heard the matter after an advocate from Kerala sought urgent listing of the plea following the death of a girl in Kerala three weeks after a stray dog bit her.

According to LiveLaw, Justice Sanjiv Khanna orally remarked that he is also a dog lover and that he had thought that the people who feed stray dogs should be allowed to do so, and that they can mark them as well. Additionally, the judge remarked that they can be responsible for vaccinating them and then bearing the cost if anyone is attacked. The bench said it will not be passing any order till it hears the parties. The court will hear the issue on September 28. 

The bench emphasised that it is essential to find the solution of stray dogs' menace and need to create a balance between people who feed stray dogs and also protect innocent people from being attacked by stray dogs. It observed that it is important to accept there is a problem - dogs may become ferocious due to lack of food or they may get an infection. It further added that rabies infected dogs could be put in a care centre by authorities concerned.

Advocate VK Biju submitted that since August 8 persons have died and school children and women are being attacked by ferocious dogs in public places. Biju had recently raised the issue of stray dogs' attacks before the top court and highlighted the recent death of a 12-year-old victim in Kerala.

Counsel, representing the Kerala government, cited Kerala High Court judgment passed in 2015, to cull the stray dog population as per local body laws. The court also asked the Sri Jagan Commission, formed by the Supreme Court in 2016 to inquire into complaints about dog attacks and distribution of compensation to victims in Kerala, to submit a report. After hearing arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on September 28, and permitted animal rights groups to intervene.

Note: An earlier version of this article had a IANS wire copy that was found to be inaccurate. The article has been modified and corrected.

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