Animal welfare groups, have, however, objected to the civic body’s approach

Last week’s fatal dog attack on a two-month-old baby in North Delhi has woken up the local civic body, but their proposal to deal with the canine population through “passive killing” may not go down well with everyone.

North Delhi Municipal Corporation Additional Commissioner Deepak Hastir told the Standing Committee on Wednesday: “The chairperson of the Animal Welfare Board of India will be meeting the Commissioner on Thursday at 4-30 p.m. We will bring up the modalities of passive killing of dogs. If the Board says we cannot do this, we will approach the courts.”

Animal welfare groups, however, objected to the civic body’s approach. PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura said: “Causing harm to dogs, displacing them so that they are unable to find food or water, or killing them are not only cruel and punishable offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, they are also ineffective in addressing the stray animal population.”

Municipal officials admitted that the corporation’s dog sterilisation programme had failed to check the population. Councillors from both sides of the aisle said there was a need to re-visit the court order that says sterilised dogs must be put back at the same spot after undergoing the procedure.

“Because of the court order, we can’t relocate dogs and the sterilisation programme is not working. We must go to the courts against this as people’s lives are in danger,” said Standing Committee deputy chairperson Rekha Gupta.

But, Ms. Joshipura said relocating stray dogs, like the councillors and many RWAs want, would not work. “The World Health Organisation has condemned dog removal policies as ineffective. When dogs are removed from their territories or killed, other dogs quickly fill the void left behind rendering the removal meaningless,” explained Ms. Joshipura.

The Leader of the Opposition, Mukesh Goel, had taken up this issue at a recent meeting of the Standing Committee.

“After warning officials about the stray dog menace, a baby was mauled to death. The girl had hardly seen anything in life, where are the good days (achhe din)?” asked Mr. Goel, taking a dig at the BJP’s election slogan.

Commissioner P.K. Gupta said the corporation was working on a multi-faceted solution to the problem. Apart from discussing passive killing, the civic body will try to ramp up the sterilisation programme. As of now, the programme is carried out with the help of NGOs as the corporation does not have its own facilities.

“The proposed sterilisation centres in Rohini and Timarpur will be ready within a month,” said Mr. Gupta.

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