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Bruising people on the streets unacceptable: The Supreme Court on stray dogs in Kerala

While noting that a remedy must be found, the Supreme Court on Friday scheduled a hearing in the Kerala stray dog issue case for September 28. A bench led by Justice Sanjiv Khanna ordered that the matter be listed for interim orders and directions and allowed the parties to provide a summary of the interim order sought. ‘ A person going down the street cannot be bitten by a dog. It cannot be tolerated. We must recognise that there is an issue. We can’t refute it,’ said Justice Khanna.

The court stated that it is aware of the issue and that a solution must be found. While Justice Khanna is a dog lover, he is also aware of the situation. The bench also recommended actions such as dog immunisation, designating feeding locations, and establishing shelters for rabid dogs, among others. Senior Counsel V Giri, representing the state, argued that there are legislative provisions in place to deal with the circumstance, which cannot be abandoned.

‘Use your brain, since we need to find a balanced way out.  There will, of course, be stray dogs on the street. Please find a way out,’ remarked Justice Khanna. People were dying even after being vaccinated against rabies, according to Advocate Biju, who spoke for the petitioner. He also briefed the court about the recent death of a little girl who was bitten by dogs.

However, Justice Khanna reminded out that there are ways and means to deal with the matter, and a solution to separate the vicious dogs may be discovered. In response to the state counsel’s contention that there is no one-stop answer, Justice Khanna stated, ‘You are the state. You must find a solution! Are these regulations carved in stone, never to be changed?’

The bench also advised that rabies-infected or dangerous dogs be isolated or placed in day-care institutions. The court, however, emphasised the importance of following the procedures in place and highlighted that it is not advocating the euthanasia of stray dogs. Senior Counsel Giri, representing the state, sought to record the statutory and other mechanisms in existence and also told the court about the ground situation. On September 28, the case was scheduled for interim orders and directions.



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