One can’t deny the hardships a street dog faces, especially in Delhi’s sweltering heat. But there are good Samaritans who take time out to feed and care for them. Now, the apex court has also recognised a stray’s right to food and a citizen’s right to feed. In a much-awaited decision, the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday upheld a previous Delhi High Court order that allowed residents to feed stray dogs at designated feeding spots in colonies — bringing relief to dog lovers and their furry friends. The High Court order was earlier contested because of concerns regarding an increase in “stray dog menace” — but the issue has now been put to rest with the SC judgement.
Surekha Anand, an animal lover who resides in Gupta Colony, is grateful for the ruling, as there have been times when her neighbours have objected to her feeding colony dogs. “I have a pet dog and I know how much love they need. So, about five years back, I started cooking extra food for the strays living in the colony. There are people who have objected, but I’m happy that even the courts see the sense behind it,” says Anand.
Many are also glad that the right to feed community dogs has been recognised at a national level. Vikas Gautam, a resident of New Friends Colony, says, “Now that the apex court has delivered its decision, the entire country has to follow it. This is great news for me and everyone out there who loves dogs.”
Gautam, who is the founder of Love For Animals Lord Buddha Foundation, a city-based NGO, stresses the need for the overall acceptance of the society dogs. “In my society, I feed the dogs inside our gate and clean their waste. People should make sure that the place where they feed dogs is cleaned afterwards,” he adds.
Feeding comes with responsibility, which is what Gurugram-based Amritika Phool, an animal helper, emphasises: “Feeding should be done without being intrusive to the people around. Feeders need to get the dogs sterilised and look after their basic vaccinations and health. Sure, it’s an uphill task, but it’s a task that needs to be done. They should avoid getting into unnecessary arguments with neighbours. There are guidelines set out by the Animal Welfare Board of India on feeding, follow them!”
Author tweets @AngelaPaljor
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