DEHRADUN: Hearing a petition related to the stray dog menace across the state, Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to file a detailed reply on the issue including the details of sterilised dogs and dog bite victims across the hill state.
Gopal K Verma, counsellor for the petitioner told The New Indian, “Honorable court has asked the state government to submit a detailed report about the number of sterilized dogs across the state as well as the number of dog bite victims till or before September 21.”
The next hearing of the matter has been scheduled for September 21, 2022. The matter was heard in the division bench comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice RC Khulbe.
Public interest litigation was filed in the HC by Girish Chandra Kholia, a resident of Nainital town requesting the court for “immediate steps to remove/kill/clutch the stray dogs immediately from all cities of the state” and “steps for control of the uncontrolled population of the stray dogs and sterilization of the stray dogs in all the cities of the state”.
The petitioner alleged negligence on the part of state government officials after the incident in which a 10-year-old girl died after being chased by street dogs in Nainital in the year 2017.
Referring to the tragic incident of the death of the 10-year-old the petitioner said, “What is important? Life of the citizens of the state of uncontrolled stray dogs moving in and around the cities?”
Pointing out the problem the petition said that stray dogs are not only causing problems in Nainital town but also in other centres of the state such as Haldwani, Ramnagar, Dehradun and Haridwar.
“It seems people are living in a state where no law and order prevails. The officers responsible are enjoying their position without fear and responsibilities to save and protect the life and safety of the citizens of the state,” alleged the petition.
The petitioner also gave a representation to the chief secretary of the state on August 4, 2017, mentioning the problems related to the street dog population and the non-availability of medicines in the government hospitals in case of dog bites.
More than 3.65 lakh people have suffered dog bites across the state in the last 10 years (2009 to 2018), an RTI query by a Haldwani-based activist revealed. The data ranges from the year 2009 to the year 2018.
In June 2018, Uttarakhand high court directed the state government to take steps, including bringing a new law, to make the streets free of stray dogs.
Earlier in 2015, the court had said that Rs 2 lakh should be paid as compensation to victims of a dog bite, adding that the amount should be shared by the civic bodies concerned and the state government. However, the Supreme Court later put a stay on the order.
While the stray dog population in India is estimated to be around 35 million, World Health Organization figures reveal that the country faces around 18,000 to 20,000 rabies cases every year.