HC directs CommissionerSMC to file response to PIL requesting details of number of stray dogs in city

Srinagar, July 08: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Friday ordered the Commissioner of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to file a response in Public Interest Litigation (PIL) stating details of the number of stray dogs available in the city ​​of Srinagar.

Upon submission of these figures, the court ordered the Commissioner, SMC, to report on action taken on the aspect of dog bite awareness and rabies management.

A divisional bench of judges, Ali Mohammad Magrey and MA Chowdhary ordered the Commissioner, SMC to submit details on the issue of animal birth control and the establishment of rabies centres.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the threat of dog bites in particular, those with rabies, the bench ordered the Commissioner to submit the Society’s plan of action to contain the threat of stray dogs and especially dog ​​bites as well as the spread of rabies.

“It must be stated in the situation report whether public notices have been published in the print and electronic media, indicating the do’s and don’ts, to avoid dog bites,” the court ordered.

The commissioner, SMC, was further asked to mention the number of birth control and rabies centers available and the number of sterilizations performed each working day.

The court ordered the commissioner to submit the action plan regarding the establishment of animal birth control and anti-abies centers.

He further asked the Commissioner to ensure that the generation of energy-rich waste is controlled, mainly from energy-rich poultry waste.

The bench also ordered the principal secretary of the government, department of health and medical education to file an affidavit stating the availability of rabies vaccines and human rabies immunoglobulin injections at all clinics and hospitals in the J&K UT.

When sending a notice to the respondents on a PIL, the court ordered the respondents to indicate the measures taken to deal with the complaints made by the various people/social activists/victims regarding the dog bites.

The court adopted the instructions in a PIL filed by students of the Law Department of the School of Legal Studies at Central University of Kashmir, who claim to be members of the Center for Public Interest Litigation and Aid legal of the University.

According to the plea, around 90,000 stray dogs roam in Srinagar city alone and examples are provided on the death of some underage children attacked by the stray dogs at different places in and around Srinagar city.

It has been argued that authorities failed to take action despite instructions issued by this court from time to time in previous PILs dealing with the canine threat to J&K.

PIL further raised the issue of the lack of public awareness of dog bites and rabies management.

The plea states that the respondents failed in their duty with respect to education.

It was argued that no public notices were published in local newspapers advising of do’s and don’ts to avoid dog bites and also to contact SMC officers immediately.

“If an abnormally or aggressively behaving dog bites one or more people, no hotline number has been listed to deal with the issue of dealing with aggressive dogs and how people should take care not to be exposed to such dogs,” he said.

It is further proven that there are hardly any animal and rabies birth control centers in and around the city of Srinagar.

Advocacy also highlighted the action plan of the

Srinagar Municipal Corporation to contain the menace of stray dogs and especially dog ​​bites as well as the spread of rabies.

Previously, in February 2022, the court disposed of two Canine Threat PILs with instructions to all authorities to ensure that all possible steps are taken to remedy the grievance projected in the PIL, curbing the canine threat to J&K .

To determine what action was taken to deal with the threat of the dogs after the PILs were eliminated, the court said it became necessary to send notice to the defendants to submit their detailed response in the first instance.

The bench scheduled the case for hearing on August 09, 2022.

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