It’s not just stray dogs that bring out the mean streak in people. Dog lovers and animal rights activists are finding out that caring for strays in this city gets them the same treatment — they are shooed away, threatened and even beaten up.
On Wednesday, a bunch of female volunteers with non-governmental organizations (NGO) trooped into the Delhi High Court to complain that they were being “harassed” and “physically assaulted” by locals while moving around immunizing and sterilizing stray dogs.
They came from Defence Colony, Vasant Kunj, Saket, Mehrauli, Geeta Colony, Kalkaji and Kamala Nagar.
There are an estimated 5 lakh (5,00,000) stray dogs in Delhi.
“Activists are being abused and threatened. Several complaints have been made to local police stations but they remain apathetic,” said Sonia Ghosh, founder of the NGO Citizens for Welfare and Protection of Animals.
On their complaint, the court issued notices to the Delhi Police and to the director (veterinary), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
Meera Bhatia, counsel for the Delhi Police, was asked to contact the station house officers of the areas concerned and ensure no harm is done to the activists.
Bhatia had earlier argued that the police could do precious little as it was essentially the job of the MCD.
The NGOs work in coordination with the MCD to sterilize stray canines.
The high court had in an order in 2001 said strays should be treated with “compassion” and cruelty should be “avoided”.