In order to tackle the menace of stray dogs, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to frame comprehensive schemes within two months on the basis of directions issued on the subject by the Bombay high court and Delhi high court as well as the rules framed by the Animal Welfare Board of India.
The division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, in its judgment on a public interest litigation (PIL), observed that though various municipal bodies had adopted measures to curb the stray dog menace, but these were "half-hearted measures" and "lacked seriousness".
Former SAS Nagar municipal councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi had filed the PIL seeking directions to the authorities concerned to check the increase in the number of stray dogs, which has created terror and had resulted in the loss of humans who fell prey to these dogs.
The bench also pointed out that various measures taken by the authorities concerned were limited just to capturing stray dogs, sterilising them and later releasing them.
In the absence of any concrete plans devised by the authorities so far, the bench stated that a concrete policy/guidelines needed to be framed on the basis of the "comprehensive guidelines for dog control and management" issued by the Bombay high court in a related case 'Viniyog Parivar Trust and others vs Municipal Corporation of Greater Bombay and others' in 1998, later by the Delhi high court for formulating the same guidelines for the city and also the animal birth control (ABC) dogs rules, 2001, framed by the Animal Welfare Board of India.
The bench also felt that though various committees had been constituted by some municipal corporations to devise ways and means to tackle the problem, but there was a necessity to frame proper guidelines/policy.
The court was informed by the authorities concerned that 1,347 stray dogs were sterilised in Panchkula (Haryana) from October 2010 to November 2011 and 930 in SAS Nagar (Punjab) since 2005 till date. As per the records produced in the monthly house meeting of the Chandigarh municipal corporation on May 5, 309 dogs have been sterilised in the city in the past four years.