Posted On 06/06/2013 By In Law for Animals With 1652 Views

Open letter to the Mayor of Chennai: Dog pounds are not just unethical, they are illegal and so is your decision to make 15 of them in Chennai

Thiru Sadai Duraisamy
Hon’ble Mayor
Corporation of Chennai

We write to you regarding an issue that is causing deep concern to us, and many others like us.  We read the following news in The Hindu about your decision to make dog pounds in Chennai with great consternation. We also have an update from concerned Chennai citizens who met you following this article confirming the aforesaid decision.

We’ve have read through the news article carefully and are deeply concerned because not only is your plan obviously unlawful, it is also ill-conceived, unscientific, and will not achieve the result that you’re probably trying to achieve : of reducing man-animal conflict. In fact, you may just succeed in aggravating the same if you put your plan into action.

It is apparent that your action is contrary to the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, enacted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It is also contrary to, and in the face of Supreme Court orders. Please therefore put your plans on hold or drop them altogether.

The article, the link to which has been extracted above, quotes a corporation official as saying : “The shelters will not violate any animal birth control rules. It will accommodate animals forced out because of territorial nature of the dogs,”. This is obviously incorrect. 2000 dogs each, in 15 shelters near burial / cremation grounds, i.e. 30,000 dogs, are surely not being ‘forced out’ of Chennai on-goingly, because of the “territorial nature of dogs”.

The article also quotes a corporation official as saying : “Over 5 percent of the 1.7 lakh dogs in the city are infirm. The employees at the shelter will take care of such animals. Often, breeders find certain dogs to be not of use and abandon them. These will be brought to the shelter,”

Please apprise us which dogs you’d classify as “infirm” ; and whether the employees that “will take care of such animals”, will be trained for the purpose. Please also advise us whether you have consulted any animal welfare organization, currently involved in the ABC-AR programme at Chennai, before undertaking this “project”, or any animal welfarists ; and what it is that they had to say. I understand that the Animal Welfare Board of India, functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, had also written to you last year, and cautioned you regarding the illegality of your proposed actions.

Incidentally, the sort of dog displacement that you are trying to achieve, was ordered by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Shimla vide an order passed on 23rd March, 2013 ; and the High Court’s order was stayed by the Supreme Court of India, on the 10th of May, 2013, in Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 17112 of 2013 filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India. You can read about it, here.

Please note, that in terms of Rule 7 (6) of the ABC (Dogs) Rules, ‘forever shelters’, where dogs are supposed to live out their entire lives, are not permitted. The relevant portion of Rule 7 (6) of these Rules reads as follows :

“The dogs will be sterilised/vaccinated under the supervision of the veterinarians of the hospital run by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Animal Welfare Organisation or other dog shelters. After necessary period of follow up, the dogs shall be released at the same place or locality from where they were captured and the date, time and place of their release shall be recorded. The representative of Animal Welfare Organisations (AWOs) shall accompany the dog squad at the time of release also.”

Removing dogs from any area will only lead to a temporary drop in populations since dogs from neighboring areas will move in, to fill the vacuum ; and the surviving dogs will multiply faster till the “holding capacity” of that area is reached.

Your proposed project is unlawful, and contrary to Supreme Court orders. Please therefore scuttle the same, and put public land, and public funds, to uses sanctioned by law.

Yours sincerely

The Founder & Board of  The Voice of Stray Dogs

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