Stop killing stray dogs in Kerala: Supreme Court tells vigilante groups

The Supreme Court restrained on Thursday vigilante groups in Kerala from culling stray dogs and distributing subsidised air guns to kill the canines, blamed for the death of four people in as many months.
A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra, however, said no impression should be created that human life has lesser value than that of a dog. It, however, allowed the government to cull dogs under stipulated rules.
Hundreds of people are bitten by stray dogs across the country every year but Kerala is said to be the worst affected with an estimated 2.5-lakh feral canine dog population. At least one lakh people were bitten by stray dogs in the state in 2015-16, a Supreme Court-appointed panel said in July. In the past four months alone, 700 people have been injured in canine attacks besides the death of four people in the state.
Read: Hated, honoured: Activist hunting for stray dogs divides Kerala society
Surprised to know that associations and groups were formed to train children to kill stray dogs, the bench also asked the Kerala government to act against violators.
The bench summoned anti-dog crusader Jose Maveli, who has publicly culled stray dogs despite the top court’s restrain. Maveli has been arrested seven times but let off after payment of Rs 50 fine every time. He will appear before the SC on March 1, the next hearing in the case.
“We restrain such organisations to impart training to the children or to distribute subsidized airguns for people to kill stray dogs or to publically propagate that there is war against the stray dogs or strangulate the stray dogs or for that matter offer prizes or incentives to those who kill the stray dogs,” the bench ordered.
The alumni association of a prominent college in Kerala has offered to gift gold coins to civic authorities who killed the maximum number of stray dogs till December 10. Similarly, a past students’ association of a prominent college has promised to reward the heads of panchayats and municipalities where most stray dogs were killed.
Earlier, cash incentives were also offered by a state- based industrialist for culling dogs.

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