The Supreme Court has stayed a Delhi High Court order that prescribed guidelines regarding feeding stray dogs while observing that citizens have the right to feed community canines.
On an appeal filed by an NGO against the High Court's order, the Bench comprising of Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Annirudha Bose issued notices to the Animal Welfare Board of India, Delhi, Government, and others.
"Issue notice, returnable in six weeks. Meanwhile, operation of the impugned order shall remain stayed," the bench said.
The appeal was filed by the Humane Foundation for People & Animals challenging the June 24, 2021 order of the High Court before the Apex Court.
The Appellant – NGO argued before the SC that the directions of the HC could lead to an increase in the menace of stray dogs.
"A dog under human supervision and control and dependent on its human caretakers for all of its needs can be prevented from biting and attacking people and other animals by physical restraint, confinement to private property and suppressing aggressive tendencies with care and training. This is not the case with stray dogs, therefore feeding in societies, streets or at any public places is a direct risk to citizens," the NGO argued.
The High Court had held that stray dogs have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed community canines while observing that in exercising this right, care and caution should be taken to ensure that it does not impinge upon others and causes no harassment or nuisance.
While laying down the guidelines, the High Court opined that every dog is a territorial being and it has to be fed and tended to at places within their territory which is not frequented by the general public.
Any person having compassion for stray dogs can feed them at their private entrance or driveway of their house or any other place not shared with other residents but no one can restrict the other from feeding dogs, until and unless it is causing harm or harassment to them, ruled the High Court.
Community dogs (stray/street dogs) have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed community dogs but in exercising this right, care and caution should be taken to ensure that it does not impinge upon the rights of others or cause any harm, hindrance, harassment and nuisance to other individuals or members of the society, the High Court had noted.
The Court had also opined that street dogs perform the role of community scavengers and also control the rodent population in the area, thus preventing the spread of diseases like leptospirosis and they also provide companionship to those who feed them and act as their stress relievers.
With PTI Inputs