Karnataka High Court Verdict on Stray Dogs (Part I): This is what the BBMP desires – To put down dogs it decides should not live

On 7th of December 2012 a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna delivered the verdict while disposing of a batch of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions — some complaining about stray menace and seeking culling of such dogs, and others seeking protection against their killing. These petitions are clubbed together as ‘stray dog’ matters [No .26996-27009/2003, 37197/2011 clubbed with WP(PIL)641/2007, WP(PIL)501/2007, WP(PIL)7642/2007, WP(PIL)7644/2007, WP (PIL)6229/2007,  WP(PIL) 4920/2007, WP (PIL)427/2007 AND WP No.4034/2007] 

The order is not with ‘The Voice of Stray Dogs’ at the time of writing this and an analysis will be published as soon as it is available with us. That said the import of the order can be felt from newspaper reports:

A reading of the reports throws up these ‘contents’ of the order:

“Karnataka High Court on Friday ruled that all dogs, which are a menace or cause nuisance, irrespective of whether they have or not attacked anybody, could be exterminated in a humane manner — even if they are vaccinated, sterilised and free from diseases — as per the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act 1976” – The Hindu

“Extermination should be in a humane manner, that is, in a lethal chamber, as prescribed by Section 11 (3)(b) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960 and the Rule 9 of the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001, which prescribes methods for culling incurably ill, mortally wounded, ferocious or dumb rabid strays” – The Hindu

“Animal welfare organisations have no role to play in the decision with regard to culling of such dogs except to ensure that they are destroyed in a humane manner on the orders of the municipal corporation commissioner” – The Hindu

However even before a detailed analysis of the order can be made available 2 things have emerged from the information available with us:

  1. Some of the lead defendants for stray dogs so far have shown a clear reluctance in taking a stay on this order and are actually quoting this order as a ‘victory’ even when the order is in the face of a stay in the Supreme Court of a similar order by the Bombay High Court which sought to ‘harmonize’ Central law (Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules 2001) and State law (in this case Karnataka Municipal Act) [see also Central law versus State law – in the context of culling of stray dogs: Which law will prevail]
  2. The BBMP who’s role is at best questionable in this context (they moved the Supreme Court for culling of dogs and pleaded very much the same that is captured in the current order – a petition that was used in an affidavit against BBMP’s stand at the High Court)

But now the affidavit given by Dr. Parviz Ahmed Piran. Joint Director (Animal Husbandry) Bruhath Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), at the High Court shows clearly that BBMP has indeed sought an order in which the dog that it deems undesirable are culled. Extracting para 8, one can see how easy it will become to put  ‘branded’ dogs down:

“8. Dogs in the habit of snapping at children/people,habitual biters,ferocious and with unpredictable temperament and behavior will be isolated and observed for a period of ten days, during which they will be handled by Animal welfare organization, Animal activists and behavioral therapists. If there is no change in the behavior or habits,it will be evaluated by a veterinarian of the Govt and that of an AWO and will be put down in a humane way by use of sodium Pentathol inj or any other method as prescribed by Animal welfare Board of India, in the interest of Public safety and Health.”

It is clear that this ‘defense of dogs’ was anything but, with the BBMP asking for the power to make the decision to brand dogs and cull them at both the High Court and at the Supreme Court.

About the use using ‘lethal chambers’ in accordance with Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960 you can see BBMPs ‘stellar record’:

In use of ‘lethal chambers’ that were run by the BBMP & CUPA in accordance of PCA (1960) here

BBMP identification and use of lethal injection to put down dogs can be seen here: