iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 18, 2009
It’s great news not only for the capital’s stray canines but also for those who care for them. Till now, dog lovers were
threatened and even beaten up by locals when they moved around feeding and sterilising the strays. The Delhi High Court on Friday ordered creation of designated areas in all colonies of the capital for feeding and tending
to stray dogs. There, the animal lovers will be provided protection, if they require it.

Justice VK Jain was hearing petitions seeking protection by animal welfare NGOs and dog lovers from Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, Kalkaji, Neb Sarai, Saket, Geeta Colony and Nangloi.

These activists work with the MCD to sterilise stray canines, to control their population. As per the latest MCD survey, there are some 2.6 lakh stray canines in Delhi. Their density is nearly five per km and the sex ratio is 51:49 (1,34,000 male to 1,28,000 female dogs). However, only about half of them have been sterilised.

The activists contended before the court that feeding of dogs forms a necessary part of rabies control. “It is necessary to confine dogs to their territories by befriending and partially domesticating through feeding them”, said Sonia Ghosh, founder of the non-government organisation Citizens for Welfare and Protection of Animals.

Ghosh said the locals in various areas saw it as a nuisance and attacked them. Complaints to the police often fell on deaf ears.

The court said, initially, the areas would be marked in the petitioners’ colonies, and later replicated in other colonies.

Delhi Police counsel Meera Bhatia told the court, “We will ensure that there is no law and order problem in a particular area during the dog feeding.”