The High Court of Karnataka has issued a stern reminder that compassion towards stray dogs, through the act of feeding them, should not lead to disruptions or threats to public safety.
A division bench comprised of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit recently addressed a public interest litigation (PIL) concerning the alleged delay by the state government in implementing guidelines set forth by the Animal Welfare Board. In their statement, they emphasized that individuals who feed stray dogs have a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not obstruct or pose health risks to fellow citizens.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s tardy response to the petition, the High Court ordered the government to rectify its conduct and mandated a three-week deadline for the submission of objections to the PIL. It cautioned that further delays could prompt the court to issue directives against the government.
During the hearing, the court stressed that citizens also have a stake in this matter, as providing food to animals in unspecified areas can lead to health hazards and various other problems. The court remarked that apart from feeding street dogs, there have been no reports of these citizens stepping forward to assist public bodies in initiatives such as sterilization or vaccination of stray dogs.
Regarding the act of feeding stray dogs, the High Court articulated its position, stating, “While we acknowledge the importance of showing compassion towards animals, we cannot do so at the expense of the disorder it may create. Feeding stray dogs in undesignated locations is likely to cause concern among school-going children, and there is a genuine possibility of stray dogs approaching these children, which cannot be disregarded.”