New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the states and the civic bodies to take steps to sterilise and vaccinate nuisance-causing stray dogs under the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
A bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant also asked the state governments to file their reports, indicating compliance of provisions of the Act regarding stray dogs, with the Animal Welfare Board within six weeks.
The Board, in turn, would consider the reports and prepare a module to deal the issue, the bench said, adding the Board will have to file their response four weeks after it gets the replies of states.
During hearing, senior advocate Dushyanat Dave, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, said, "We will have to balance the things as there are instances of deaths due to dog bites."
Dave also said he was yet to come across a news where animal-loving NGOs have come forward to help of victims of dog bites and hence, the need of the hour to strike a balance.
"The stray dogs are healthy and create ruckus," he said and gave example of stray dogs roaming around in Lodhi Garden here.
Another senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for a Maharashtra municipality, said the NGOs receive funds, do not do anything and only complain.
The NGOs should be asked to give accounts of their works done for the welfare of such animals, he said.
The bench has now fixed a batch of petitions on the issue of stray dogs for final hearing on July 12.
The apex court is hearing a batch of appeals including those filed by Animal Welfare Board and dog lovers against the decisions of some high courts including the Bombay High Court and Kerala High Court to allow municipal authorities to deal with the stray dogs menace.
"There can be no trace of doubt that there has to be compassion for dogs and they should not be killed in an indiscriminate manner, but indubitably the lives of the human beings are to be saved and one should not suffer due to dog bite because of administrative lapse," it had observed.
Earlier, the court had said the local authorities have a "sacrosanct duty to provide sufficient number of dog pounds, including animal kennels/shelters" which may be managed by the animal welfare organisations.
"... It is also incumbent upon the local authorities to provide requisite number of dog vans with ramps for the capture and transportation of street dogs; one driver and two trained dog catchers for each dog van; an ambulance-cum-clinical van as mobile centre for sterilisation and immunisation; incinerators for disposal of carcasses and periodic repair of shelter or pound," the bench had said.
Animal Welfare Board of India, in its plea, has sought that the central law, which mandates birth control of street dogs through strict implementation of the Animal Birth Control Dogs Rules, be followed.
In its plea, the board said that these rules cast an obligation on municipalities to ensure sterilisation and vaccination of stray dogs through the participation of animal welfare organisations, and then return them to the very location where they were picked up from.
Advocate Anjali Sharma, appearing for the board, said the Constitution made it a fundamental duty of all citizens of this country to treat every living creature with compassion.
Earlier, the apex court had refused to stay culling of stray dogs by the Thiruvananthapuram civic body on a PIL by advocate Anupam Tripathi and said the killing of the dangerous dogs and those inflicted with rabies should be guided by rules.
Declining to pass an interim order putting on hold the killing by Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation (MCT), it had said the killing of the stray dogs should be guided by the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.