The Supreme Court on Friday suggested people who routinely feed stray dogs could be made responsible for their vaccination and also liable to bear the costs if those animals attack people, while emphasising on a need to find a solution to the stray dogs’ menace.
As a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and J.K. Maheshwari was hearing petitions in connection with the stray dogs’ menace in Kerala, Justice Khanna orally observed that he is a dog lover and there are many dog lovers and suggested that people who feed stray dogs could possibly keep a number or marking on the dog they feed.
“They will be responsible for vaccinating them and bearing the cost if a person is attacked,” he said.
The bench emphasised that it is essential to find the solution of stray dogs’ menace and need to create a balance between people who feed stray dogs and also protect innocent people from being attacked by stray dogs.
It observed that it is important to accept there is a problem – dogs may become ferocious due to lack of food or they may get an infection. It further added that rabies infected dogs could be put in a care centre by authorities concerned.
Advocate V.K. Biju submitted that since August 8 persons have died and schoolchildren and women are being attacked by ferocious dogs in public places. Biju had recently raised the issue of stray dogs’ attacks before the top court and highlighted the recent death of a 12-year-old victim in Kerala.
Counsel, representing the Kerala government, cited Kerala High Court judgment passed in 2015, to cull the stray dog population as per local body laws.
The court also asked the Sri Jagan Commission, formed by the Supreme Court in 2016 to inquire into complaints about dog attacks and distribution of compensation to victims in Kerala, to submit a report.
After hearing arguments, the top court scheduled the matter for further hearing on September 28, and permitted animal rights groups to intervene.