Is Dog Over-rated Nuisance?

November 19, 2022

Dogs have been praised endlessly for their various perceived virtues by their proud owners. But, lately they have been in public focus different reasons. For long one of the things said about dogs is that every dog (and bitch) has his day. Now the cup over-flows with higher judiciary and media dealing with dogs as reflected in following two excerpts from media coverage (TOI).

Pet bites 6-year-old boy in lift, GNIDA slaps Rs 10,000 fine on owner

In yet another incident of a dog bite, a video is doing rounds of social media where a pet dog is seen pouncing on a child and biting him inside a lift. The child is six years old and a resident of La Residentia society in Greater Noida west. The incident happened around 3pm on 15/11/22. Following a police complaint by the child's family, the Greater Noida Authority has imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the pet owner.

"When my son returned from school, we boarded the lift from the ground floor. Just then, a resident of the society also entered the lift with his pet dog. Once the dog entered the lift, it bit my son's right hand. We rushed him to a hospital and got him vaccinated," said the mother of the child.

The woman lives with her family in Tower 7 of the society. She said only one of the lifts was functional in the tower and that is why both the residents had to enter inside it. She added that her son has received two bite marks on his right hand.

The next day, the boy's family approached the police in the matter. "Based on the complaint filed by the child's father, an FIR has been registered against the pet owner under IPC Section 289 (negligent conduct concerning an animal)," said Umesh Bahadur Singh, the SHO of Bisrakh police station.

Meanwhile, after the video went viral, a team from the GNIDA visited the society to look into the matter. Thereafter, a fine of Rs 10,000 was imposed on the pet owner. Officials said he has been given seven days to pay the fine.

Several incidents of dog attacks have happened recently in the elevator of societies of Ghaziabad and Noida. On September 5 this year, a 10-year-old boy returning from his tuition class was allegedly attacked by a pet dog inside the lift of Charms Castle society in Ghaziabad's Raj Nagar Extension. The incident was captured in a CCTV camera showing that the dog's owner had remained a mute spectator as the boy was crying in pain. An FIR was later registered in the case.

Readers might have observed that owners of pet dogs carry with them scoops and containers to clear and carry away the poop the dogs release during their walks in the housing society’s gardens and walkways to avoid fines from the society administration. Yet, they will not muzzle the animals because apparently there is no risk of fine. In this context, the fine of Rs. 10,000 is apt and additionally should have had hospital expenses of treating dog-bite.

SC stays Bombay HC's 'adopt first, feed strays later' order

Observing that it is not practical and cannot be insisted upon that a person has to adopt a stray dog before feeding it as ordered by the Bombay high court, the Supreme Court on16/11/202 stayed operation of the order and directed that no coercive action be taken by the authorities for non-compliance of the HC's directions. While hearing an appeal against the HC order, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and J K Maheshwari said the order passed by the HC on the aspects of adoption and feeding was not implementable and that part of the order has to be stayed.

"It cannot be insisted that one has to adopt stray dogs if you want to feed them. It is impossible. Feeding and adoption aspect of the order has to be examined ... People would then deliberately throw food item on street for the stray dogs and that would create another problem," the SC bench said.

The Nagpur bench of HC had said that any person interested in feeding stray dogs, should first adopt the strays, bring them home, register it with the municipal authorities or put it in some dog shelter and then shower his love and affection on it, by feeding and looking after it in all respects.

Observing that the omnibus directions issued by the HC required modification, the SC bench directed the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to allow the general public to feed stray dogs at locations demarcated by the civic body.

The lawyers, appearing for the petitioners, contended that the apex court in May allowed operation of the Delhi HC verdict which had held that community dogs have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed them and had framed guidelines on feeding stray dogs. They submitted that similar arrangements should be allowed in Maharashtra.

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By John B Monteiro
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