In the latest development, there has been a demand among many individuals and RWAs in Gurgaon to remove strays from the housing society under the pretext that “dogs should not be fed. ” They often try to isolate residents who ignore this legal diktat socially.
However, one thing to remember is that feeding street dogs is not a crime. It is a right guaranteed by the Consitution. On the other hand, intimidating or harassing someone for feeding society’s dogs is tantamount to criminal intimidation, as per what the law says.
“We take action against such harassers on a case-to-case basis,” Gurgaon police commissioner Vikas Arora said.
The Supreme Court is quite clear on the dog-feeding issue. In May 2022, the apex court upheld an earlier Delhi high court order that clearly stated that stray dogs have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed them.
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), the central government’s nodal body for animal welfare, also has clear guidelines for RWAs. They state that the residents’ bodies cannot deny feeding strays inside a housing society or create multiple feeding spots where the canines can live.
“Since driving away strays from afrom a housing society is illegal, it is the moral duty of RWAs to get them immunized each year. The RWAs should designate dog-feeding places only with the concurrence of the dog-feeders,” said Chetan Joshi, AWBI representative, MCG Monitoring and Implementation Committee for Animal Birth Control.
Lawyers say that RWAs may be taken to court if they issue any illegal diktat or try to intimidate residents feeding the dogs on their premises or at designated feeding places. As per Mayank Raghav, a Punjab & Haryana high court advocate, “A resident has the right to challenge any illegal diktat issued by an RWA in a court of law.”