FIAPO response on the High Court comment on Cubbon Park dogs

Letter sent by FIAPO (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations) to BBMP, Horticulture, KAWB and AWBI on this issue.


9th December 2021

1. The Chief Commisioner​​​​​

Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike

Hudson Circle, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560002

comm@bbmp.gov.in

2. The Director

Department of Horiculture

Government of Karnataka

Lalbagh, Bangalore


Subject: To take appropriate action as per laws and regulation on community or street dogs and pet owners in cubbon park for feeding and dog walking.


Dear Sir,

I write to you from the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO). This is regarding the case pending in the High Court of Karnataka at Bangalore in W.P. 1021 of 2021, The Cubbon Park Walkers Association v. State of Karnataka. As Bangalore’s civic body and custodian of street dogs in the city, we request your kind action and representation. This matter pertains to the construction inside the Cubbon park. However, on 9th December 2021 a division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice SachinShankar Magadum made the following oral observation -

How are these dogs permitted in the public place? So many dogs! It in fact affects the morning walkers. People who bring their dogs don't even chain them, they leave them open and there is no restriction in the movement for the public inside the park, no entrance fee or nothing is charged, why? How are these dogs permitted in a public place?"

The Chief Justice further observed that, ""Now what is happening is that people bring food in their vehicles to distribute to the dogs and not one but hundreds of dogs just collect at one place and when you pass by them, they become very furious, they even chase."

The bench also noted that there would be some rules governing pet owners and how the pets, be it cat or dogs, be maintained.

The Chief Justice observed that, "It is not that you bring the dogs outside and dirty the roads, the owner is not concerned, and just come back? Why? It is nowhere permitted, if you are keeping a dog you have to maintain it. It is not that you keep your house clean and dirty outside, it is difficult to walk on the road inside the cubbon park. If they are not cleaned every day, you cannot walk because of these dogs".

Chief Justice Awasthi went on to say that, "Once I had an occasion to visit Europe and I was standing on the window of my hotel in the early morning. Hardly any people were there on the road, one person came with his dog and the dog eased out in the middle of the road and that person removed a packet from his pocket and nobody was there on the road, nobody was seeing him, but it was his consciousness and he took out a plastic packet and put the poop in the packet with his hand and threw it in the dustbin. I was just watching and said that is civilization. This is done by everyone there."

"So unfortunate, educated people who are proud of keeping very good species of dogs and when you talk to them, they will tell you the pedigree of the dogs, and then what they do on the roads", the CJI added.

On a query made by the court to BBMP as to whether it should pass an order regarding the same or would the authority do it on its own, the counsel for BBMP said they will do it themselves.

The bench also orally directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to come out with an action plan to deal with the issue of street dogs found inside Cubbon park and also inform about what restrictions could be taken for pet dogs, brought in by their owners for walking in the park. We understand the new BBMP Pet Licensing Bylaws draft that is to notified already covers penalties for not leashing or picking up poop.

With utmost respect we submit that feeding of stray dogs and allowing dogs inside the park is absolutely legal. BBMP is also fully aware and supportive of this issue. In fact, these citizens are merely performing their fundamental duty under Article 51A(g) by showing compassion towards other living beings.

Laws & regulations

• Further the Animal Welfare Board of India issued guidelines dated 26th February 2015, for pets and street dogs and their caregivers and for Resident Welfare Association and Apartment Owner Association where it is mentioned that-

1. Beating and driving away street dogs is not allowed in any circumstances. The dogs can only be sterilized according to the regulations provided in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001 and vaccinated. Then have to be released back in their original locations.

2. Animal cruelty is an offence under Section 11(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Section 428 and 429 Indian Penal Code, 1860. It is a punishable offence with imprisonment of up to 3years and a fine.

3. Attempt to interfere with or harass persons who choose to look after and feed the community dogs may be equivalent to the very grave offence of Criminal Intimidation under the Indian Penal Code.

4. There is no law prohibiting any citizen from feeding street dogs. Citizens who choose to do so are only fulfilling their constitutional duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India.

5. Any aggression or hostility that the dogs may be subjected to may render them aggressive and hostile to humans. If the same happens, human aggressors shall be the ones to blame.

The AWBI circular dated 26th February 2015 is enclosed.

• In another circular dated 15th November 2016, the Animal Welfare Board of India issued guidelines for allowing pet dogs in the public parks. These guidelines are issued in the light of the order dated 12.11.2014 passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in WP (c) No. 7731 of 2014. Order enclosed.

The circular states – that entry of dog into parks, and their being exercised in them, will not be banned if the dogs are duly leashed and being walked by adults. Pets should be leashed on a leash no longer than six feet in length as leashing of pets in public places assures passerbys that they are safe and they are more likely to be comfortable when walking in the vicinity of a dog on a leash.

In this context we request BBMP to kindly make efforts to follow the rules and regulations and also guide the street dog feeders and pet owners to abide by the ways of feeding and walking their dogs in a park, so that the other people who have come to exercise or visit parks are not disturbed. The AWBI circular dated 15th Nov 2016 and the order of the Delhi High Court dated 12th Nov 2014 is enclosed.

Judicial precedent

• Moreover, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Animal Welfare Board of India v. People for the Elimination of Stray Troubles, [SLP 691 of 2009] in its order dated 18th November 2015 held that: “we will advert to the same at a later stage, but for the present it is suffice to say that all the State municipal corporations, municipal committees, district boards and local bodies shall be guided by the Act and the Rules and it is the duty and obligation of the Animal Welfare Board to see that they are followed with all seriousness. It is also the duty of all the municipal corporations to provide infrastructure as mandated in the statute and the rules. Once that is done, we are disposed to think for the present that a balance between compassion to dogs and the lives of human being, which is appositely called a glorious gift of nature, may harmoniously co-exist.

We would also request all the High Court’s not to pass any order relating to the 1960 Act and the 2001 Rules pertaining to dogs. Needless to say, all concerned as mentioned herein-above, shall carry out this order and file their respective affidavits as directed.” The order dated 18th Nov 2015 is enclosed.

• In the case of Simmy Malhotra v. State, W.P. (crl) No. 1101 of 2009, order dated 18th Dec 2009, the Delhi High Court had ordered to the police to ensure that people who protect and care and feed the animals are not harassed. In this order it was explained that “the purpose of feeding dogs is to keep them confined to a particular place, so as to subject them to sterilization/vaccination and revaccination, as the vaccination doesn’t last more than one year”.

• The Supreme Court of India in Animal Welfare Board of India v. A Nagaraja has recognized the following rights of animals :-

a) Right to live in a healthy and clean atmosphere

b) Right of animal to not be inflicted with unnecessary pain or suffering

c) Right to proper care

d) Right to get protection from human beings against inflicting of unnecessary pain or suffering

e) Right to get food and shelter

f) Right to dignity and fair treatment

g) Right, not to be beaten, kicked, over-ridden or over-loaded

h) Inherent right to live

Based on the above we pray that-

1. The pet dogs are not banned from cubbon park and the issue is dealt keeping a holistic approach keeping in mind the rules and regulations;

2. Community or street dogs in Cubbon Park and other public parks and spaces to not be harmed or relocated and to continue to have the freedom and rights that have already been highlighted in Order.

3. The dog feeders and the pet owners be allowed to continue as usual and given instructions on how to feed and walking of dogs as per the AWBI guidelines.

4. Work with AW organisations like The CJ Memorial Trust, CUPA & CARE who are already trying to ensure that walkers are not affected and that dog lovers follow the littering and leashing rules. We understand that they have already written to Horticulture Dept on this a few times


Looking forward hearing from you

Sincerely

Varnika Singh


Advocate

FIAPO

+ 91 9810134593

CC-

1. Karnataka Animal Welfare Board of India

Member Secretary, KAWB/ The Director

Dept. of Animal Husb. & Vety. Services,

I Floor, Pashupalana Bhavana,

Opp to CBI office, Bellary road, Hebbal, Bengaluru - 560024.

2. Animal Welfare Board of India

Secretary

Dr. Sujit Kumar Dutta


 

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