The rehabilitation of stray dogs, rounded up ahead of the G20 summit, has run into a controversy, with animal rights activists accusing the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) of insensitivity and releasing them at spots far from the areas from where they were picked up.
The civic agency has, however, denied any cruelty and claimed that it is following the directions of the Delhi High Court on the issue. The People for Animals (PFA) activists accused the civic body of displacing the animals (stray dogs) in the process of releasing them after the G20 summit.
BJP leader and former Union Minister Vijay Goel also joined the tussle by slamming animal activists and dog lovers. He told The Sunday Guardian: “These so-called dog lovers are not adopting the dogs; they only create problems; they only say various things, but eventually they are not doing anything for the dogs.” He further said that if they are dog lovers, they should stop shouting, and start adopting dogs, and help MCD with their sterilisation and anti-rabies injection.”
The PFA accused the MCD of mishandling the stray animals, claiming that the MCD hasn’t obeyed the ABC rules while picking and releasing stray animals.
According to PFA, many dogs detained as part of “routine” Animal Birth Control (ABC) operations had already been sterilised, though the MCD had picked them up from the vicinities of Pragati Maidan, Supreme Court, Bhairon Mandir, Airport, Red Fort, PUSA Institute, Akshardham, Rajghat, Qutub Minar, etc. Not just that, the PFA also claimed that the MCD has also displaced them while releasing after the G20.
Ambika Shukla, a trustee of PFA, claimed that civic bodies turned down their help during the drive. She said, “We offered to coordinate with these animal birth control (ABC) centres. But the MCD pre-empted us and started loading dogs without letting us identify them. She further said that because the dogs were not geo-tagged, some of them were released in the wrong neighbourhood. MCD had released them without informing us, although we were ready to help them. Still, they didn’t inform us and released them secretly.” Ambika said dogs are territorial animals, and releasing them in the wrong areas causes problems such as territorial fights, etc.
Anushka Chowdhary, an animal welfare activist with PFA, said: “The animals were tortured and treated inhumanely. Civic authorities used sticks, rods, metal clamps, and umbrella nets to force dogs into vans, all methods that are widely considered cruel and have fallen out of favour. So, we are demanding formal action against the person responsible for this.”
Ravi Gupta, a man who witnessed the cruelty, said, “I was shocked to see the dogs being dragged by the neck, screaming, and yelping by what looked like class 4 untrained workers. When someone asked if they had any orders, they were asked to mind their own business. It was distressing. No animal should be treated like this.”
“A lactating mother with tiny pups has been picked from Pragati Maidan; no one knows if all the pups have been taken or some have been carelessly left behind,” says Dr Renu Malviya, who feeds the dogs there.
On the other hand, the MCD denied all these claims. MCD said the dogs that were picked up for sterilisation, immunisation, or observation are being released in their respective locations from where they were picked up. “MCD would like to emphasise that the entire process is being carried out in consonance with ABC Rules 2023, which the corporation is bound by and conscious of. Unwarranted allegations and apprehensions just to gain brownie points and serve vested interests go blatantly against the public spirit.
Officials said that the MCD’s action of picking the dogs was challenged before the High Court. In the said matter, the High Court, without allowing any indulgence or even issuing notice, disposed of the writ petition with the directions that MCD shall conduct itself as per ABC Rules, 2023, which MCD, as already stated herein above, is even otherwise bound by. “MCD, being a responsible organisation, is sensitive to the cause and does all the acts as per the law.
In the above tussle, the Congress too has stepped in, calling the act of detaining dogs an act of cruelty and posting a video on X that showed stray dogs being pulled by their necks with a leash.