This week, two different judicial forums issued significant orders relating to pets and stray dogs. While the Supreme Court allowed caregivers to feed stray dogs in public within minimal nuisance, the Gurugram district forum in Haryana has directed the enforcement of a 'one family one dog' rule.
Though these orders are city-specific for now, it may potentially influence policies for pets and strays elsewhere.
BOOM recaps the developments below.
One Family, One Dog; Ban on Dangerous Breeds: Gurugram District Forum
Haryana's Gurugram district Forum on November 15 directed the civic body to enforce a 'one family one dog' rule. In a series of stringent guidelines, the district forum directed the municipal authorities to ban 11 "dangerous foreign breeds" of dogs, cancel the registration of these banned pets, and take them into its custody.
The banned breeds are: Rottweilers, American Pit-bull terriers and Bulldogs, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Neapolitan mastiff, Boerboel, Presa Canario, Wolf dog, Bandog, and Cane Corso.
The consumer forum order came on a complaint filed by a lady who was a victim of a dog attack and was awarded an interim relief of ₹2 lakhs. "Though to some people, this interim relief amount of ₹2 lakh as compensation may seem exorbitant but if such people are asked to get bitten by a ferocious dog like Dogo Argentino on the rear part of their head with the offer of ₹2 lakh as compensation, then, needless to say, that their answer would be obvious," the consumer forum noted in its 16-page order.
Violation of the same will attract a minimum fine of ₹20,000 that can go up to ₹2 lakh. In case of default, dog owners could also face jail time of not less than a month and up to two years.
Other suggested guidelines are:
- The municipal body is directed to take all stray dogs in their custody with immediate effect and they must be vaccinated, sterilized;
- Registration of pet dogs within one month is compulsory for a fee of not less than Rs. 12,000/- per year. The renewal fees would begin at Rs. 10,000/per year;
- Every dog must wear a collar which shall be attached to a metal token coupled with a metal chain;
- To prevent dog bites, registered dogs must have their mouths properly covered with a net cap or the like of such whenever it is taken out in public places;
- Pet owners must carry poop bags and a poop picker to maintain proper hygiene and cleanliness in public places;
Where there are humans there is conflict: Supreme Court
Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Bombay High Court's (Nagpur Bench) order that banned caregivers in Nagpur from feeding stray dogs in public and a fine for flouting the same. The HC on October 20 had said anyone "interested in feeding stray dogs" would have to first adopt the strays and take them home.
"You cannot insist that the people who feed street dogs should adopt them," Justice Sanjiv Khanna had orally observed. Where there are humans, there is bound to be conflict, the bench observed. "There will be wrongs done by stray dogs as well," Justice Khanna said adding, "we have to be conscious of both. We can't insist on requiring people to adopt strays to feed them."
The top court said it was up to the municipal authorities to devise a way by which street dogs can be fed while following proper guidelines. "There cannot be a situation where the strays are lurking around or they become aggressive and hungry," the court added.
"We also require the general public to ensure that no public nuisance is caused by feeding of stray dogs," the top court said.
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