State is duty-bound not to slaughter dogs without reason: SC

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The Supreme Court has ruled that the state is duty-bound to not slaughter any stray dogs without reason, a ruling that has come in the midst of an outcry over a proposed plan to cull stray dogs in Kerala.

Amid raging controversy over culling of stray dogs in Kerala, the Supreme Court has said the state is duty-bound not to slaughter dogs without any reason.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said it while issuing notice to the Centre and Kerala government on a petition seeking an immediate direction to the state to stop “merciless” culling of stray dogs.

The bench, however, also added a word of caution. “A dog may be a faithful friend. However, they can be dangerous because their bite can affect the brain,” it said.

Advocating a balanced approach to deal with the problem of dog bites, it said: “Therefore, this needs to be addressed by law and not by love or hate for the animal.”

This is the second plea inviting court’s attention to the Kerala government’s drive to cull stray dogs. To curb the menace the state had on July 9 taken the decision to start the drive. It drew support from a Kerala high court order permitting the killing. A challenge to the HC verdict was recently made before the top court that did not stay the operation of the order.

During the hearing, the bench also asked senior counsel Dushyant Dave to assist the court. Dave was present to argue another matter but interjected the proceedings with a lighter vein. Pointing towards a lawyer colleague, he said: “The court may also issue a general order to those who are victims of dog bites.”

Dave clarified he was a dog lover but felt steps need to be taken to address the problem of stray dogs. The court fixed October 26 to hear the matter.

An all-party meeting chaired by the Chief Minister of State of Kerala had on July taken a decision “to cull and destroy” over 2.5 lakh stray dogs in the state, read the petition, claiming the administrative order was against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

SOURCE: HINDUSTAN TIMES

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