The Animal Welfare Board of India on Thursday pledged full support to the step initiated by the Delhi High Court to create a designated space to feed stray dogs in all colonies in the capital.
“Feeding of stray dogs may lead to some inconvenience for residents especially those who do not like dogs. But the purpose achieved through feeding and confining dogs to the localities they inhabit is to make sterilisation and vaccination possible,” said an affidavit filed by it in the court.
“The main aim is to bring down stray dogs’ population and control rabies. This is far more important for the public good,” it said.
Acting on petitions filed by animal welfare NGOs from Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, Kalkaji, Neb Sarai, Saket, Geeta Colony and Nangloi seeking protection while they tended to dogs, the court on December 18 ordered the creation of exclusive spots in colonies where dogs can be fed. These activists work with the MCD to sterilise stray canines to control their population.
The AWBI was asked to undertake the task of identifying such spots in all colonies in consultation with RWAs, area SHOs and animal welfare organisations in each area.
Boards to come up
On Thursday, the AWBI told Justice V.K. Jain that the process of identifying spots where stray dogs can be fed has begun. The AWBI also sought six more weeks’ time to complete the process. The AWBI made it clear that dogs must be tended only in those parts of a colony that are less frequented by the public. Streets, footpaths and entrances to houses shall be strictly avoided.
The judge asked AWBI lawyer Anjali Sharma to ensure that boards are put up at the designated areas. The time during which the canines can be tended to are also to be mentioned on the board.
Sonia Ghosh, founder of NGO Citizens for Welfare and Protection of Animals had told the court that locals of colonies who hated dogs attacked and threatened volunteers of animal welfare organisations.
Meera Bhatia, Delhi Police’s lawyer, assured full protection to the activists but said their task would become easier once the areas are marked.
As per the latest MCD survey, there are 2.6 lakh stray dogs in Delhi. Their sex ratio is 51:49 (1,34,000 male and 1,28,000 female dogs. However, only about half of them are sterilised.