The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has moved the Supreme Court, saying increasing stray dog attacks on children, often with fatal results, and inaction on the part of State authorities is a violation of child rights.
The Commission (KeSCPCR), represented by advocate Jaimon Andrews, has filed an intervention application and sought a direction from the apex court for euthanising “suspected rabid dogs and extremely dangerous dogs”.
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The apex court had recently issued notice in a similar petition filed by the Kannur district panchayat and listed the case on July 12 for hearing.
Both KeSCPCR and the panchayat, in their separate pleas, have referred to the death of a 11-year-old autistic child, Nihal, in Kannur on June 11.
The Commission said it had taken suo motu case of several incidents of stray dog attacks on children in the State.
It said it was speaking in the voice of the children who have suffered from the menace.
“Incidents of dog bite are increasing and causing serious threat to life of children in the State of Kerala… it is a serious violation of child rights,” Mr. Andrews has argued for the Commission.
The KeSCPCR has blamed the lack of proper animal birth control programmes, abandoning of pets and poor waste management as some of the primary reasons for the nuisance. Animal shelters or even culling of dogs could reduce the risk, it suggested.
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The petition noted that the stray dog population went down by 18 lakh in seven years from 1.71 crore to 1.53 crore. Some independent studies suggest the population is much higher as many go unaccounted for. Globally, dog-mediated rabies cause an estimated 59,000 human deaths annually. According to World Health Organisation, India accounts for 36% of the global deaths due to rabies. India also accounts for 65% of the deaths due to rabies in the South-East Asia region.
The National Rabies Control Programme reported 6,644 clinically suspected cases and deaths of human rabies between 2012 and 2022. According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, almost 96% of rabies cases in India are caused by stray dogs.