New Delhi: Enraged by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) forced removal of stray dogs from streets and subsequent transfer to various sterilisation centres across the national capital ahead of the ongoing G20 summit, animal rights activists have decided to take the matter to court.
People For Animals, a non-governmental animal welfare organisation with a nationwide network, along with other petitioners “will file a petition in the Delhi High Court against the MCD for the same Sunday,” the organisation’s trustee Gauri Maulekhi told ThePrint.
Unlike coordinated pick-ups in the past that have taken place in the run up to Republic Day or Independence Day celebrations, the pick-ups this time around have been indiscriminate and without the use of precautionary measures, ThePrint had earlier reported.
Maulekhi said that there were no proper methods used to pick up the stray dogs this time and none were tagged. This, she said, increases the risk of dog bite cases since the dogs might get relocated.
“There were no records kept. The dogs are not tagged properly, nor are they being given proper food. When the event is over and the dogs are let out, the risk of dog biting cases across the city might increase. Delhi people should also not suffer because of this,” she said.
Hundreds of street dogs were picked up by the MCD ahead of the G20 Summit — being held in Delhi over 9 and 10 September — in a bid to clear public spaces.
Animal rights activists had flagged their concerns regarding the methods of removal and the treatment meted out to the dogs at the centres they have been taken to. Viral videos across social media show dogs being picked up with nooses around their necks and being shoved into vans.
Ahead of the meeting, authorities had already cleared many slums in the city and placed langur cut-outs to scare monkeys away from public spaces.
An earlier order issued on 2 August to ensure removal of stray dogs ahead of the G20 meet from the vicinity of prominent locations was retracted by the MCD. However, the dogs were picked up in the past few days without any official orders and are being kept in sterilisation centres in the city’s Brijwasan, Ghazipur, Kotla, Masoodpur and Dwarka areas.
A Reuters report said ambulances sporting ‘On Duty G-20’ signs were used for collection of strays.
According to media reports, the last stray dog survey was conducted by the erstwhile united MCD in 2009, which found the number to be around 560,000. In 2019, though, a sub-committee constituted by the Delhi Assembly had put the number at around 800,000. In a statement released reportedly Wednesday, the MCD said that the captured dogs were being traced and would be returned to their original location, but did not specify a timeframe.
ThePrint reached out to Amit Kumar, Press and Information Director for MCD via calls. This report will be updated once a response is received.
Speaking to ThePrint for an earlier story, Kumar had termed the allegation by animal rights activists as ‘highly exaggerated’ and said that all dogs were safe with medical help available to them.
(Edited by Zinnia Ray Chaudhuri)
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