First adopt the strays, then feed: Bombay High Court

There are only a few people who can actually stand the puppy eyes and the innocent face. The majority caves in and offers food to street dogs. Some dogs have become reliant on these treats because they have evolved to induce this response. Consequently, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has directed the Nagpur authorities and police officials to take firm action against anyone impeding their efforts to combat the scourge of stray dogs. According to the Court, people who want to feed strays must first expressly adopt them and only feed them inside their homes and not in public places. The bench added that doing so would help to eliminate the "nuisance" of stray dogs without harming them. The Court also instructed the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to impose appropriate penalties for any violations of these instructions. The Court has also reiterated on the finding by NMC that the penalty for each violation should not exceed Rs. 200.

No resident or citizen of Nagpur or the surrounding areas may feed or attempt to feed stray dogs in public areas. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation's (NMC) Municipal Commissioner was further ordered by the court to ensure that no such feeding occurs anywhere other than the individuals' homes. Before being able to feed an animal and meet all of its personal needs, a person who wants to feed stray dogs must adopt the animal, bring it home, register it with the municipal authorities, or put it in a home for dogs in need.

It is usually the case that the homeowner who feeds these dogs accepts no responsibility for the disruption caused by the street dogs. Since no one should be put in danger while going about their everyday chores by stray animals, it is a solid argument that the presence of some dangerous and ferocious stray dogs interferes with a citizen's constitutionally mandated right to free movement. The aforementioned ruling was made as a result of a Public Interest Litigation that a social activist filed in 2006, and it offers some optimism that the stray dog problem can be controlled by taking the right actions and by not being too harsh on these street canines.


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