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HC seeks report from SMC about steps taken to deal with stray dog menace, sterilization measures

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court has asked the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to submit within four weeks the steps it has taken to deal with the menace of stray dogs and details of sterilization centres established in the city.

Hearing a petition filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation and Legal Aid Petitioner through advocate Aleena Syed, a division bench of the court asked the SMC to file objections “as shall indicate the steps taken to deal with the menace of dog bites and details of sterilization centres, they have established in the city of Srinagar.”

The court had in its previous order directed the Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, to file an affidavit, indicating the availability of anti-rabies vaccines and human rabies immunoglobulin injections in all the dispensaries and hospitals throughout the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The appearing counsels for the respondents had in today’s hearing sought and were granted four weeks to file objections. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by the Centre pertains to the menace of dog bites.

It was filed by the students of the Department of Law, School of Legal Studies, Central University of Kashmir. Based on the status collected from different sources, the petition stated that about 90,000 stray dogs are roaming in Srinagar city alone.

It supplied the instances of the death of some minor children attacked by the stray dogs at different places in and around the Srinagar City.

It is also stated that the authorities have not taken steps despite directions passed by this Court in PIL No. 361/2011 clubbed with PIL No. 12/2018 from time to time dealing with the dog menace in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

It said that there is no awareness among the general public with regard to dog bites and anti-rabies management. The second aspect is the issue of animal birth control and the setting up of anti-rabies centres.

The third aspect which has been highlighted in the petition is the action plan of the SMC for containing the menace of stray dogs, and particularly the dog bites as also the spread of rabies. It is stated in the petition that the respondents have failed in their duty in so far as the creation of awareness is concerned.

No public advisories have been issued in local newspapers indicating do’s and don’ts in order to avoid dog bites and also to immediately contact the officers of the SMC, if a dog with abnormal or aggressive behaviour bites any person(s), the petitioners said.

No helpline numbers have been indicated so as to deal with the issue of countering aggressive dogs and how people should take care as not to be exposed to such dogs.

It further averred that there are hardly any animal birth control and anti-rabies centres in and around Srinagar City.

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