Outrage over strays’ round-up

| | New Delhi
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Outrage over strays’ round-up

Saturday, 16 September 2023 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Outrage over strays’ round-up

Civic authorities are facing criticism for rounding up stray dogs and cattle before and after the recently concluded G20 Summit in Delhi.

Animal rights activists have asserted on social media that “seemingly cruel methods of capture and relocation of stays” violated the guidelines set forth by the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules of 2001.

Besides, the activists have raised concerns that dogs are being released haphazardly from the shelters where they were housed during the Summit. Delhi has over 60,000 stray dogs, according to Government data.

The activists lamented the lack of proper coordination in the operation and noted that stray dogs were being captured from areas outside the New Delhi district limits, which had no relevance to the G20 event.

They alleged that the release process lacked proper tagging of the dogs’ original locations and coordination with local caretakers, thereby increasing the likelihood of the dogs being relocated.

The harmful rods used in certain cases to grab strays have been prohibited for use, and the use of ropes appears to be inhumane, said activists.

It is evident from footage that the dogs, who are yelping, appear to be frightened, disoriented, and visibly suffering due to mishandling, they pointed out.

The animal activists have formally submitted a memorandum to Mayor of Delhi Dr Shelly Oberai, asking for addressal of their concerns.

Animal rights activist and the founder of the House of Stray Animals (HSA) dispensary Sanjay Mohapatra voiced his criticism of the methods employed in capturing dogs.

He emphasised that the guidelines established by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) stipulate the use of nets exclusively for relocating dogs.

However, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has refuted all these allegations and informed the Delhi High Court that the process of releasing stray dogs captured before the G20 Summit has already been initiated.

The submission was made by MCD’s counsel before a division bench consisting of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula during a public interest litigation (PIL) plea regarding the procedures employed by the MCD for capturing and subsequently releasing street dogs in Delhi during special events such as Independence Day, Republic Day, and most recently, the G20 Summit.

Several videos circulating on social media show dogs being captured with metal wire and relocated to shelters, sparking outrage among animal rights activists.

A video, compiled by the People for Animals India, shows seemingly untrained workers using metal wires and nooses to pickup dogs off the ground before hurriedly stuffing them into their vehicles and sometimes tiny enclosures.

The Congress has also shared a disturbing video of authorities, belonging to the MCD, rounding up stray dogs and relocating them to different areas within the national Capital.

According to animal lovers, these dogs were kept in sterlisation centre in Bijwasan and those who feed strays regularly were prevented from even visiting the centres during the Summit.

They said the conditions at these centres were not fit to keep these dogs due to a lack of sufficient watering bowls and ventilation, among other things.

Moreover, the dogs were picked up without collars or being tagged. The People For Animals (PFA) was reached out by air travellers at Terminal 2 of IGIA airport who spotted “screaming and yelping” dogs being “dragged by neck” using wires by “what looked like class 4 untrained workers” before being bundled into vehicles, the statement said.

Paramvirjeet Singh, who feeds stray dog in Kriti Nagar said the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, provide for sterilization and vaccination as a means of stabilising/reducing stray dog populations and prohibits the relocation of stray dogs, i.e. throwing, or driving them out of one area, into another.

An order passed by the Supreme Court of India in this regard also prohibited removal, and dislocation of dogs. The fracas over dogs comes even as the matter has caught the attention of the lordships of the Supreme Court, including the highest judge of the land, the Chief Justice of India (CJI), himself.

Notably, a batch of petitions relating to street dogs is pending for consideration before another bench of the Supreme Court.

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