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HC orders coordinated efforts, effective implementation to address stray dog menace

12:31 AM Jun 04, 2024 IST | D A RASHID
hc orders coordinated efforts  effective implementation to address stray dog menace

Srinagar, June 3: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh Monday called for coordinated action from various agencies to deal with the issue of stray dogs menace in Jammu and Kashmir even as it said that a sustained participation of the authorities was required rather than leaving the issue entirely in the hands of NGOs.


Hearing Public Interest Litigations (PIL) including the one on the court’s motion, a division bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal directed authorities to report as to how effectively various decisions taken by the State Level Implementation and Monitoring Committee related to the dog menace were to be implemented in letter and spirit.


In its meeting held on February 13, the State Level Implementation and Monitoring Committee comprising Commissioners of Municipal Corporation Jammu and Srinagar, Directors of Urban Local Bodies, Kashmir and Jammu, Special Secretary to the Government, Department of Agriculture, Joint Director Planning, H&UDD, Additional Secretary, Department of Finance, Municipal Veterinary Officer, JMC and representatives of NGOs has taken several decisions related to the dog menace issue.


The committee underscored that compliance with Animal Birth Control Rules 2023 must be ensured for running any ABC programme.


While the committee noted that ABC Monitoring Committees be constituted at Local authority levels following Animal Birth Control Rules, 2023, Schedule II Rule 3, it said the Commissioners of JMC and SMC as also the Directors of Urban Local Bodies Jammu and Kashmir shall frame ABC Camps calendar and circulate among District Administrations for necessary support and action.


The ABC Programme must be halted in the months when the minimum temperature goes below 6 degrees Celsius and Corporations shall cross-verify that the agencies engaged in sterilisation and implementation of the programme are recognised by the Animal Welfare Board of India and have obtained Project Recognition following the ABC Rules 2023.


“If found non-compliant, the contract with the agency shall be terminated and a report to be submitted within 15 days,” the committee said.


It has asked the Director ULBK and ULBJ to identify land or abandoned buildings in each district for the operationalisation of the ABC programme.

“They should run mobile hospitals in collaboration with district administrations and the Animal Husbandry Department for immediate stop-gap arrangement. They should also send a proposal for procuring subsidised mobile hospitals under the Government of India scheme immediately,” the committee said.

It urged that JMC, SMC, DULBJ, and DULBK should submit a Monthly Progress Report to the State ABC Committee.

The committee suggested that IEC activities and awareness programmes be carried out regularly and hoardings shall be put by corporations for the adoption of stray animals.

It said that Commissioner JMC would prepare a roadmap for the creation of an SPV for conducting the ABC programme throughout the J&K and submit the same within a month.

The committee has urged that a handbook for Animal Management, for ULBs of Jammu and Kashmir, should be drafted for circulation, which would cover all statutory duties of the local bodies about animal management.

“Assistance may be taken from AWBI and subject matter experts to prepare it,” the committee said.

It said that a nodal officer would be nominated for the State ABC Monitoring Committee to coordinate with all ULBs regarding the implementation of the recommendations of the committee.

The committee also called for a comprehensive policy to be made for working animals in urban areas, keeping in mind the Draught and Pack Animals Rules 1965, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and advisories of the AWBI.

Keeping in mind that equines carry zoonotic diseases and are used widely across J&K, the committee said the policy should include a registration regime which is granted after health examination.

While the committee urged for an updated dairy policy to be made for all dairies in urban areas, to prevent abandoned and free-roaming cattle in the cities, it said the policy shall be compliant with the Guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Board, mandated by the NGT.

“We are of the view that since certain decisions were taken, which appear to be in the right direction to deal with the issue, it would be more appropriate that the authorities concerned implement the same in its true spirit,” the bench said after going through the decisions of the committee.

The court observed that the JMC and SMC have engaged the services of NGOs saying it cannot be left entirely to the NGOs concerned to deal with the issue arising out of stray dogs. It, accordingly, directed the authorities concerned to report to the court as to how effectively the decisions could be carried out.

“The issue relating to stray dogs is certainly a complicated one, which would require very coordinated action from various agencies and authorities including NGOs working in the field and cannot be dealt with simply,” it said.

The court said that it has also been apprised that the constitution of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) within the Urban Development Department would also go a long way in dealing with the various issues arising out of stray dogs in terms of Rules 10(5), 10(6) and 10(7) of the Animal Birth Control Rules 2023.

“Certain suggestions have also been made, which have been placed on record vide Annexure –XI and XII in the form of Strategic Framework for Establishing a Dedicated Animal Birth Control Entity in J&K’s Urban Local Bodies, the authorities will examine the same and take into consideration the suggestions so made,” the court said.