Recently, Hyderabad witnessed a mother and daughter being beaten up by locals for being responsible and feeding stray dogs and taking care of them….
In another incident, a family was beaten up by citizens for taking care of the street dogs in their society. Tragically, there are several such incidents going unreported in the city where stray dog feeders are harassed constantly by members of housing societies.
While the Indian constitution protects the rights of animals, most people have turned a blind eye to this fact and continue to be violent with stray animals.
According to a circular issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI): Article 51A of the Constitutional Law of India speaks about the duties of every citizen of India. One of these duties includes having compassion for living creatures. This clearly implies the animal lover is protected under the Constitution.
Article 19 of the Constitution of India deals with the right to freedom and in this freedom comes the right to profession, occupation, trade and business.
Therefore, it means that every citizen has the right to occupation and if someone has taken the caring of animals as his occupation, it is legal and he has every right to carry on with his occupation.
Article 21 of the Constitution of India states the right to personal life and liberty. This is a very vast right. If someone wants to feed and provide shelter to dogs, he is at liberty to do so. He has the same right to liberty that the law provides to every citizen of India.
Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, provides that intimidation is a criminal offence which is cognizable.
Anyone who threatens or intimidates any person taking care of dogs is liable for criminal intimidation under Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code and can be arrested without a warrant.
Speaking to Pune365, a animal welfare volunteers in Pune, Ankita Shetty shares, “People have been falsely accusing my stray dogs of biting and chasing their vehicles. This is despite making them understand that strays don’t bark or chase without a reason.
The kids from the society have been seen pelting stones on strays and when strays attack in self-defence the cause is ignored. My strays are sterilised and vaccinated, yet I have been harassed day in and day out and to my surprise, the corporation is also acting in their favour, Ankita added.
An animal rights activist from Pune remarks, “There is no law that can stop you from feeding or taking care of a stray animal.
“The High Court has ordered that people can feed animals at designated areas and it’s not against the law. However, the whole idea is to be aware of the rules, follow them and then show it the people who are trying to harass you.”
Feeders are advised to take part in sterilisation and vaccination programmes of the stray animals, as feeders have gained their trust.
Make Society aware of the laws, submit them a copy of secular issues by Animal Welfare Board Of India.
Sterilised and vaccinated animals can be relocated from the area. However, if the harassing doesn’t stop, the next step is to contact the local police and get in touch with Animal protection Organisations like People For Animals. In turn, they will get in touch with RWA members or the police depending on what needs to be done, she added.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.