Feeding of stray dogs should not be at the cost of safety of fellow citizens: Karnataka High Court

  • 05/10/2023

Order of the Karnataka High Court on stray dogs. The applicant had prayed for appropriate action to regulate the life and movement of stray dogs and for implementation of Animal Welfare Board of India’s (AWBI) Guidelines on Pet and Street/Stray dogs-2015.

The intention of serving food to street dogs is good but it should not be a problem for people. Except feeding the street dogs, no instances have been reported by any municipal corporation or public body that the citizens who feed the street dogs are coming forward to assist and help the corporation and the public bodies in the exercise of sterilization and vaccination, the court pointed out.

The High Court also pointed out one of the guidelines of the Animal Welfare Board of India, March 3, 2021 which directed that resident welfare association (RWA) and the feeders with the help of Animal Welfare Board of India representatives will identify the spot for feeding the stray dogs in the colony and no hindrance should be caused to the persons in carrying out any activities in respect of the street dogs at the said spot.

The High Court emphasized that the guideline takes into consideration a bonafide object of a citizen to feed street dogs but at the same time, a duty is cast upon such citizen that the activity shall not cause any disturbance, hindrance or health hazard to his fellow citizen.

The division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit noted that some of the areas which are important areas for various reasons including the safety reasons (an open area next to the gate of Karnataka Vidhana Soudha), wherein some citizens are seen entering the area along with their vehicles full of food to feed the street dogs and the birds. There were also instances where the food was catered to street dogs in the areas used by the walkers in Cubbon Park.

The High Court directed the Karnataka government to file a comprehensive reply on the matter listing the appropriate remedial measures.