“Don’t let the dogs out” order peeves animal rights group

IMPHAL, 15th Dec: Expressing dismay over the order issued by the government of Manipur that asked owners to put collar belt and confine their pet dogs at homes, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO) has cautioned that it will initiate legal action against the government in case the order is not revoked.
Reacting to the order issued on December 7 in the aftermath of unknown animal/species attacking and killing poultry birds and other domestic animals, FIAPO legal affairs manager Varnika Singh wrote to the department of Forest, MUDA and Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) on December 10 to withdraw the same notification failing which the federation will take due course of action, legally.
However, IMC executive officer K Chandrakumar Singh stated that the FIAPO conveyance has not been received till date.
Stating that the corporation will make its position clear to the FIAPO as and when the complaint is received, the executive officer clarified that IMC issued the very public notice as per the directive of the government of Manipur.
He also pointed out that in-spite of the public notice not to let their pet dogs astray there is no sign of abidance to the order by the public, especially those living in Greater Imphal area till today.
On the other-hand, FIAPO contended that as there has been neither proper assessment of facts and circumstances behind the killing of livestock nor direct evidence that dogs are responsible for the killings, the directive to restrict movement of the pet dogs beyond homes lacks justification.
The federation complaint addressed to officials concerned mentioned that it is concerned over the drive to round up street dogs from the street of Imphal on the mere suspicion that street dogs are the reason behind the number of attacks on livestock across the state.
It has become a recent trend in many states to blame dogs for any unwanted misfortune that befall upon livestock, or any other animals, and on various occasions street dogs are made the target even if specific orders are issued by municipality authorities to prevent stray cattle from the streets, inferred federation, and stressed that there should be a proper assessment of facts and circumstances for the reason behind killing of livestock.
As such there is no valid reason to round up street dogs and keep them in shelters, cages, etc., said the Federation, which is India’s apex animal rights organisation having more than 80 members and over 200 affiliated organisations.
The letter also referred to a ruling of the Supreme Court which declared that animals have an inherent right to live and a right to dignified life.
“When we look at the rights of animals from the national and international perspective, what emerges is that every species has an inherent right to live and shall be protected by law, subject to the exception provided out of necessity.
Animal has also honour and dignity which cannot be arbitrarily deprived of and its rights and privacy have to be respected and protected from unlawful attacks,” the federation quoted observation of the apex court delivered on September 18, 2015.
Further referring to the court’s decree, the FIAPO complaint mentioned municipal corporations, municipal committees, district boards and local bodies are duty-bound to provide infrastructure as mandated in the statute and rules.
In view of the Supreme Court emphasising that “No innovative method or subterfuge should be adopted not to carry out the responsibility under the existing Act or Rules and any kind of laxity while carrying out statutory obligation, is not countenanced in law”, street dogs are mandated to live on the streets itself, in the specific areas they call home, if they are to be removed from their natural homes, it said.
As the government of Manipur’s order is sub-judice in the Supreme Court, execution of any policy on the issue of street dogs without the knowledge and consent of the Court would be in direct contravention of the law, the letter cautioned.
While stressing that the ‘strong’ complaint against implementation of the order need to be upheld, the federation suggested that the government withdraw the order failing which FIAPO will have no option but to pursue legal recourse.
As the collective voice of the animal rights movement in India, FIAPO is the catalyst that protects the interests of animals on local and national levels through education, research, lobbying, mobilization, training and direct action, the complaint letter added.

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