After the stray dog sterilisation drive has been shelved keeping in view the objections raised by Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has raised objections over the animal birth control (ABC) programme of the district administration.
The AWBI, under the Union ministry of environment and forest, has not only directed the district administration, but also asked the Punjab government to follow the ABC rules.
After Maneka's letter to the administration, the AWBI has shot off another letter to Patiala divisional commissioner AS Pannu and mayor Amarinder Bajaj to ensure that ABC rules and norms of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act are followed during the sterilisation programme.
In a letter dated April 16, AWBI assistant secretary Vinod Kumar has stated that it has been brought to their notice that the stray dogs captured and sterilised are left without proper post-operative care in the areas other than those from where they were caught against the ABC rules, 2001.
"The role of the civic body is important as per rules as the authorities are supposed to ensure that stray dogs are caught in a humane manner and sterilized dogs are ear-notched to identify them from other dogs before releasing them," Kumar stated in the letter.
The AWBI has advised that the sterilisation should be done using the methods, which are least harmful and cause less stress to dogs.
"Norms of capture of dogs, sterilisation, immunisation and their release should be sternly followed and the dogs should be released at the same place or locality from where they were captured and the date, time and place of their release should be recorded," he said.
The AWBI has even quoted a ruling of the Supreme Court of June 7, 2014, in which the apex court had issued directions to all the enforcement agencies to uphold animal rights and protection laws and failure to do so may invite stricter action against the agency or officials concerned.
"I therefore request you to direct the authorities concerned to implement the ABC programme effectively and take appropriate and punitive action against the offenders for violating the norms," Kumar said in the letter.
Meanwhile, the copy of the letter to the chief secretary to Punjab government, the AWBI has asked him to issue immediate directions to all the MC authorities to effectively enforce the Prevention of cruelty to animals Act and ABC rules as directed by the Supreme Court, so as to prevent any cruelty to animals and uphold rights of animals protected under the laws.
Mayor Amarinder Bajaj, however, said they have a copy of the ABC rules with them and all the norms were strictly followed during the sterilisation drive. "We will resume and revamp the ABC programme shortly, since we have suspended it after some people raised objections. We have also crosschecked the dogs operated under the scheme by veterinary experts and all were found in good health," Bajaj said.