G20 Summit: MCD defends self as outrage grows over treatment of dogs
MCD said the dogs were only picked up on “urgent need basis”, and were released back at the same spot from they were picked up
The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which has been criticised by activists and several residents for the removal and relocation of community dogs from parts of the city in the run-up to the G20 Summit, on Saturday defended itself saying that no harm was caused to any of the animals that were picked up.
The civic body’s statement came a day after the Congress posted a video on X (formerly Twitter) released by animal rights group People For Animals (PFA), which purportedly shows animal catchers removing dogs in an inhumane manner. “They are being denied food and water, and they are being subjected to extreme stress and fear. It is imperative that we raise our voices against such appalling acts and demand justice for these voiceless victims,” the party said in a post.
In its statement, MCD said the dogs were only picked up on “urgent need basis”, and were released back at the same spot from they were picked up.
“It is high time to say no to misinformation. The video shared is short on credibility and authenticity. MCD assures one and all that the dogs are picked up on ‘urgent need’ basis and are kept in proper care with medical and other facilities. No cruelty or harm was caused,” the statement said.
To be sure, mayor Shelly Oberoi, in an interview with HT on September 5, said that MCD has passed no order to relocate street dogs, and said she will order a probe if any dogs were being picked up. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the mayor’s office did not respond to requests for a comment on Saturday’s development.
Activists, however, alleged that MCD was carrying out drives to relocate community dogs — including sterilised dogs — in a “clandestine manner”. Referring to the MCD statement, Ambika Shukla, a trustee of PFA and the director of Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC), said this was the first time MCD openly admitted it was conducting such a drive.
“We have video proof that dogs have been cruelly removed using metal sticks rather than the butterfly net method. MCD claims that only sick or aggressive stray dogs are picked up on an urgent basis for observation but how come they suddenly received complaints regarding over 1,200 dogs from across the city regarding so many dogs?” Shukla said.
Community dogs are territorial, serve as guard dogs, and keep the rodent population down. These dogs can’t be exterminated or simply shipped out; there are legal restrictions against both. According to guidelines laid down by the Animal Welfare Board of India and Prevention of Cruelty (Animal Birth Control) Rules, 2023, a civic body can pick up dogs to sterilise them, but after surgery and recovery, these animals must be released in the same area.
Shukla said that none of the ABC (animal birth control) centres were equipped to handle so many dogs. “These are sterilisation centres for healthy dogs and no additional provision or additional resources were made available to these units. Improper tagging has led to a situation where dogs will be released in wrong areas,” she added.