Five months after the Delhi High Court, on a plea by dog lovers, directed the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to identify spots across the capital for feeding stray canines, the panel finds that the task may not be that easy.
Protests against the move reached a new level on Monday.
The Resident Welfare Association (RWA) of a high-rise residential complex for central government employees —M S Apartments on KG Marg, abutting Hyderabad House, Civil Services Society and Andhra Bhawan — has dragged the Board to the court for identifying a feeding spot within the campus “despite protests”.
The RWA virtually questioned the Board’s power to allocate a feeding spot in densely-populated areas.
The court had, on December 18, 2009, asked the Board to find designated places in all colonies in consultation with RWAs, SHOs and animal welfare organisations of each area.
Representing M.S. Apartment, which houses nearly 600 central government officials, lawyer K S Bhati submitted before Justice Siddharth Mridul: “AWBI fixed the feeding point despite RWA’s objections. Their own guidelines provide that thickly-populated areas should be avoided.”
Bhati said two feeding points had already been fixed with the consent of RWAs on the by-lanes outside their campus and there was no need for any within it. RWA President Ajay Pandey says in the petition seeking their impleadment (request to hear them) case: “Complaints of dog bites is rising in our campus. While children find it difficult to play, many senior citizens are afraid to go for a walk. They also complain they cannot sleep during night because of barking.”
The RWA’s complaints are pending with the NDMC and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Justice Mridul had issued notices to the Delhi Government, AWBI, the NGOs representing dog lovers and sought their responses by August 31.
The court had given directions for identifying designated spots for feeding dogs after activists led by Sonia Ghosh and Jasmine Damkewala of Citizens for Welfare and Protection of Animals said their volunteers were being attacked by locals and members of RWAs, while feeding and immunising dogs against rabies.
AWBI has pledged support to the idea for the designated spaces, saying: “The purpose achieved through feeding and confining dogs to localities they inhabit is to make sterilisation and vaccination possible — a major rabies control measure.”
Founder of NGO Citizens for Welfare and Protection of Animals Soniya Ghosh said: “It’s a small hiccup. There
are no differences as such. Things will be sorted out through talks.”