Animal welfare groups will have no say in decision on culling

In a setback to the campaign by animal welfare organisations across the State, the Karnataka High Court on Friday ruled that all dogs, which are a menace or cause nuisance, irrespective of whether they have or not attacked anybody, could be exterminated in a humane manner — even if they are vaccinated, sterilised and free from diseases — as per the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act 1976.

However, extermination should be in a humane manner, that is, in a lethal chamber, as prescribed by Section 11 (3)(b) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960 and the Rule 9 of the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001, which prescribes methods for culling incurably ill, mortally wounded, ferocious or dumb rabid strays.

Court clarifies

The court clarified that where stray dogs don’t give rise to any behavioural complaints or are free from diseases cannot en masse be destroyed under the KMC Act.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna delivered the verdict while disposing of a batch of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions — some complaining about stray menace and seeking culling of such dogs, and others seeking protection against their killing.

The Bench made it clear that animal welfare organisations have no role to play in the decision with regard to culling of such dogs except to ensure that they are destroyed in a humane manner on the orders of the municipal corporation commissioner.

The court said it had gone through the laws and concluded that there is no bar on extermination or destruction of stray dogs but the culling should be humane.

However, the citizen must bear in mind that street dogs also have a right to live and therefore, people must refrain from attacking them.

They must also ensure that children stay clear of strays and should not play with or feed them, the court said. The Bench ordered that dog owners ensure that their pets are not a bother in public places.

Cautioned

It is mandatory to keep them in a leash in such spaces and not let them loose on the streets so as to avoid a confrontation with street dogs or other pets, the Bench ruled.

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