Many large Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) and Managing committees (MC) write to us asking us to take away all the stray dogs from their societies/gated community/ buildings etc. They don’t realize that relocating stray dogs is an illegal act.
VOSD is the world’s largest no-kill rescue and sanctuary, and the largest provider of legal and medical expertise on dogs. And we would like to provide a legal framework for stray dogs so that everyone understand the rights of Stray Dogs and what they can and cannot do when it comes to stray dogs population management and control. Please share this information in all your groups on social sites like FB, Twitter, etc and Whatsapp groups. We need to spread awareness about the current laws related to Stray Dogs in India to stop the cruelty to stray dogs.
LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR STRAY DOGS
Let us first look at the hierarchy in ‘law’. Any law by anybody can’t be in violation of a higher constitutional authority. Therefore a Management Committee (MC’s) by-laws can’t be ultra-virus those of the civic authority i.e. BBMP/Any Municipal Corporation, which in turn can’t make laws or rather is not allowed to implement any that is ultra-virus any state laws, which in turn can’t be against Central laws, which in turn can’t be against the Constitution, which in turn can’t be against the basic Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Several matters of displacement of dogs, and feeding of dogs, guardianship on stray dogs, etc have been settled in High Court decisions that we cite below. Most of these derive from the Animal Birth Control Act 2001, revision of 2015. It is important to bring it up since by Indian Law any High Court Decision of any state is an interpretation of the law and is binding on all other states, unless it has been explicitly stayed/ turned by the High Court of that state or the Supreme Court.
For instance the petition of the Govt of Karnataka to allow for stray dogs to be removed, in the Karnataka High Court and the subsequent ambiguous restricted judgment that ‘no stray dogs in Karnataka may be removed unless they are ‘furious’ (without defining furious or how that judgment may be made) has been stayed in the Supreme Court in a collective set of petitions and stays from across the country on what it is collectively known as the ‘Stray Dog Matters’.
Legal Precedence & Orders
Punjab & Haryana High Court: Sonia Rogers vs State of Haryana & Ors. Court settled the matter of individuals being within their rights to take care of stray dogs including ABC and tending to them. Courts said this is not just a right but a civic duty. This can be read here https://strays.in/index.php/2011/08/know-your-and-your-animal-rights-sonia-rogers-petitioner-vs-state-of-haryana-ors-respondents/
Delhi High Court. Sonya Ghosh vs State of New Delhi & Ors. Court settles the matter of stray dogs being fed by caretakers in residential areas. Court says stray dogs can be fed in neighborhoods and to avoid conflict should be on predetermined time and area in the locality. Can be read here https://strays.in/index.php/2011/08/know-your-and-your-animals-rights-delhi-high-court-orders-on-feeding-strays/
Delhi High Court.
Sonya Ghosh vs State of New Delhi & Others. Court settles the matter of access/ removal of stray dogs from public areas such as public parks. Can be read here https://strays.in/index.php/2012/10/the-dogs-of-lodhi-garden-new-delhi-how-their-removal-from-lodhi-gardens-was-averted/
Supreme Court stays Mumbai High Court order on the elimination of ‘nuisance’ dogs. Can be read here https://strays.in/index.php/2011/08/mumbai-high-court-judgement-nuisance-stray-dogs-stray-order-supreme-court/
Allahabad High Court disregarded ambiguous views of Himachal High Court and Karnataka High Court orders and gave an unequivocal order that the structure to deal with stray dogs is within Animal Birth Control Rule 2001. Can be read here https://strays.in/index.php/2014/01/allahbad-high-court-order-upholds-the-animal-birth-control-dogs-rules
Please be advised there that any action on the part of the MC/RWA etc, with or without assistance from the BBMP/Any Municipal Corporation or any private party, to remove dogs is illegal, and an FIR against such parties and police and subsequent judicial action the logical outcome.
In a 2015 Bangalore case in Jal Vayu Vihar, the MC decided not only to pass a motion but got some private parties/ NGOs to remove animals from the complex. An FIR was lodged by residents of JVV and the Chairman of the MC was arrested and set out on bail. This was even though this was mostly cats, and they do not have any laws written specifically for them, so it is more difficult to make out a case.
OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO THE RWA/MC
That there are many stray dogs in a society/community/building area shows 2 things (1) entry/ fencing is porous that has allowed dogs to come inside (2) and that there is food for the dogs by way of garbage composting etc. Ensuring that entry and exit are strictly controlled is essential – since even if these dogs were not there other dogs will infiltrate. The best case in point is the UB City area in Bangalore – it is an open area but completely free of littering and consequently no dogs.
VOSD Recommendation for stray dog population management
- Step 1: Get all the dogs Neutered as per ABC rules, Municipal corporations in your city, NGOs doing sterilization in your city, BBMP or NGOs working with BBMP in Bangalore can do that. Involve any ‘stray dog people’/dog lovers in the complex to coordinate and ensure pickup the dogs for sterilization and that the dogs will have to be brought back to the same location after they recover from the surgery – within 4 to 5 days. Remember that the life expectancy of dogs in the open is an average of 3 yrs because of accidents, disease etc, though the longest living stray dogs will be over 10 yrs. So over a period of time, this population will completely die of natural causes as long as the complex ensures no new dogs infiltrate and no dogs breed.
- Step 2: Create & mark pre-determined place(s) and time in the complex where stray/community dogs can be fed and get the ‘stray dog people’ /dog lovers to ensure that adequate qty of food is available. Dogs that are well fed will spend most/ all their time resting instead of scavenging.
- Step 3: Dogs that are taking shelter at a specific location are doing so because of shelter and/ or food. Creating a self-contained environment including some shade in/ near the food, water area should work well.
- Step 4: Make residents aware of the steps being taken and educate them.
VOSD Sanctuary has 800+ dogs ALL of which have been brought there for medical reasons or because of perceived ‘aggression’. Incidentally, all dogs live without chains in the midst of other dogs and people. 8000+ dogs have all been rescued by hand. Dogs will bite only when put into a corner. Creating a safe environment for people must include creating a safe environment for dogs. It is not essential for dogs to come to VOSD to do that, this can be achieved in your location. Wipro Corporate, IIM Indore and several other locations have implemented these recommendations and there has not been any conflict thereafter. VOSD will never take your dogs en mass. Dogs that come to us are surrendered through a standard process and individually and have to meet medical preconditions and thorough scrutiny. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to surrender a stray or pet dog to the VOSD Sanctuary.