If stray dogs attack people, those who feed them could be held liable, says Supreme Court

If stray dogs attack people, those who feed them could be held liable, says Supreme Court

However, dog bite incidents involving strays have been much more than those involving pets.

The Supreme Court on Friday suggested people who routinely feed stray dogs could be made responsible for their vaccination and also liable to bear the costs if those animals attack people, while emphasising on a need to find a solution to the stray dogs` menace.

The top court said a balance has to be maintained between the safety of people and animal rights. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and JK Maheshwari, said "some solution has to be found."

"Most of us are dog lovers. I also feed dogs. Something came to my mind. Let people take care (of dogs) if they want but they have to be marked, not tracked through the chip, I'm not in favour of that," Justice Khanna observed.

The apex court said a rational solution must be found to address the stray dog issue and posted the matter for hearing on September 28 and asked the parties to file replies in the matter.

1.5 crore dog bites cases in India

Data shows India recorded over 1.5 crore animal bite cases since 2019. The highest number of cases were recorded in Uttar Pradesh (27,52,218), followed by Tamil Nadu (20,70,921), Maharashtra (15,75,606) and West Bengal (12,09,232). On the other hand, Lakshadweep reported zero dog bite cases in the same period.

The year 2019 saw a colossal 72,77,523 animal bite cases, which declined to 46,33,493 in 2020 and 17,01,133 a year later. However, the first seven months of 2022 alone recorded over 14.5 lakh instances. The highest number of cases this year were recorded in Tamil Nadu (251,510) and Maharashtra (231,531). India also reports over 100 rabies cases and deaths every year.

However, dog bite incidents involving strays have been much more than those involving pets. As per 2019 count, India has 1,53,09,355 stray dogs, down from 1,71,38,349 in 2012. The highest number of stray dogs are found in Uttar Pradesh (20,59,261), Odisha (17,34,399) and Maharashtra (12,76,399). Manipur, Lakshadweep and Dadra & Nagar Haveli reported zero stray dogs.

If stray dogs attack people, those who feed them could be held liable, says Supreme Court
12 arrested for burying 150 stray dogs alive in Karnataka

The apex court has been hearing a batch of petitions on issues relating to orders passed by various civic bodies on the culling of stray dogs which have become a menace, especially in Kerala and Mumbai.

Some NGOs and individual petitioners have moved the apex court 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 as per the rules.

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