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Kerala plans dog zoo to tackle alarming situation created by ferocious strays

11 Juillet 2017

The Kerala government has formulated a policy to control the growing stray dog menace in the state.

The state government has disregarded stern objections from various departments while telling the Supreme Court on Monday that it would frame a policy to open rehabilitation centers for stray dogs in all districts.The proposal for setting up stray dog rehabilitation zoo (SDZ) was first mooted in 2016 in a meeting convened by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The State government, represented by senior advocate V. Giri, was responding to a question from the Supreme Court on the construction of shelter homes for the stray dog population, which has increased aggressively over the years and become a risky presence on the streets, especially after dark.

Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for one of the parties, said it would not help as the dogs should not be displaced but should be sterilised and immunised.

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The Centre, the Animal Welfare Board and NGOs opposed opening dog zoos and said better results in checking rising population of stray dogs would be achieved if the state government implemented the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules to sterilise the canines.

The panel, in an interim report, had said that more than one lakh people in Kerala have been bitten by dogs in 2015-16 and warned that frequent stray dog attacks on children there have created a unsafe situation.

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Another lawyer said the natural rights of dogs can not take precedence over the fundamental rights of humans and referred to a figure that in the recent past 1.16 lakh persons have suffered dog bites, of whom 20 had died.

The court asked the Kerala government to take action on the reports of the Justice Jagan committee on award of compensation to dog bite victims.

"Simple, because Kerala has not adopted the Birth Control Rules", advocate Siddhartha K. Garg responded.

Even while fighting hard for dog shelters, the state government was on difficult grounds when it came to granting compensation to victims of dog bites.

Referring to the divergent views taken by different High Courts including those of Kerala, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, and others while Bombay High Court was divided on the issue, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar fixed August 11 for the hearing of the matter.

But in a categorical finding, the Justice Jagan Committee, which also includes the State's Law Secretary and Director of Health Services, had said the ABC programme "cannot be a solution to the immediate problem of very excessive dog population faced by the people in the State".

Kerala plans dog zoo to tackle alarming situation created by ferocious strays