Delhi HC ruling on strays’ rights emboldens feeders; RWAs up for the task
The Delhi High Court, while passing the judgement, stated that ‘animals have a right under law to be treated with compassion, respect and dignity’. This decision has come as a relief to animal feeders who had been working for the cause of furry friends since forever.
Instances of animal lovers being chastised for feeding strays in residential areas have been far too many. Recently, holding the view that ‘animals have a right under law to be treated with compassion, respect and dignity’, the Delhi High Court said that community dogs have to be fed at designated areas, and that care-givers or feeders have the right to feed them. This has come as a relief to the pawsome individuals who have been uptill now holding fort with strong conviction.
Delhi-based animal lovers and rescuers feel that this judgement will help them as they go about taking care of strays. “Every positive change towards animal welfare brings me closer to achieving my dream that no community dog sleeps with an empty stomach. Such orders give me hope that there will surely be a day when all the stray animals are treated with respect and would get the love and care that they deserve. Through this ruling , there will be thousands of dogs who would get food as people would now have the courage, strength and power to stand against those who stop them from feeding the strays. This is a huge achievement for all the animal lovers who are out there working hard each and every day,” says Vibha Tomar, a Delhi-based animal rescuer and veterinary student.
Advocates for animal welfare also opine that maintaining peace between dog lovers and other members of the community will be possible if each area has designated feeding spots. “Some people have issues with dogs dirtying the locality, which can be corrected easily. But people have complaints that the dogs bark a lot. What else are dogs supposed to do? Moreover, I’ve been abused and my character has been questioned, only because I fight for the rights of the voiceless in my locality,” says Shruti Kapoor, an animal rescuer in Rohini, adding, “We take care of the dogs in our locality at our own expense, and dogs are extremely loving and understanding. The violence inflicted on dog feeders is appalling, and in that light, demarcating designated spots in each locality, keeping in mind the territory of the animal, will go a long way in maintaining peace.”
The Delhi HC’s order also puts onus of vaccination and sterilisation on the RWAs and municipal corporation, and many associations say they are up for the challenge. In Vasant Kunj’s C-9 block, the residents and the RWA have formed a dog care group that tends to the needs of the strays. “We’ve 40 stray dogs, and all of them are vaccinated and sterilised. And we’ve been doing this for years now. Infact, for people who say strays are dirty, surely they haven’t seen the chaos pets create; and we are working to implement rules where every resident will have to pick up after their pet. Of course tussles happen, but we all deliberate on it together. The area belongs to the strays as much as it does to us. We welcome the Delhi HC’s decision and believe RWAs must take charge and create an atmosphere of peace for all their members,” says Mausumi Bhattacharjee, general secretary of the RWA.
And this ruling has received an applause from the RWAs in NCR as well. Nazim Khan, RWA secretary, Madhuban Apartments in Noida, says, “There are many residents in our locality who love animals and like to feed them, and care for their well-being. Hence, as a responsible association, we have provided for designated spots where food is regularly provided for them. This ensures that animals don’t turn violent, out of hunger. We do have a few complaints of stray dogs biting domestic helps and kids in the locality, but I believe it can all be amicably resolved, largely without any violence.”
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika