THE Bombay High Court on May 8 directed the Maharashtra Government to issue clear directives to police administration not to stop or obstruct ambulances or taxies ferrying sick animals to and from veterinary clinics.
As regard to walking of dogs and catering to their needs through animal feeders is concerned, the government has been asked to file an affidavit stating its stand.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed Vineeta Tandon, an animal welfare activist, alleging that as a result of the lock-down ordered by the State due to Covid-19 pandemic, police have been arbitrarily stopping citizens from taking their pets, more specifically dogs, for walks.
Police stations, according to the petitioner, had issued arbitrary directions to housing societies to stop residents from taking their dogs for walks. It was also alleged that ambulances or pet taxies operated by NGOs and others to ferry animals from their shelters or pet owners to veterinary clinics and back were being arbitrarily stopped and obstructed by the police administration. Further, it was alleged that the police administration was refusing to issue passes for these ambulances and pet taxies.
As per the petitioner’s information, the Central Animal Welfare Board has issued directions to State DGPs calling upon them to allow people to walk their dogs as a measure of prevention of cruelty to animals. The directive, according to her, has been reported in the press. She could not, however, produce the same before the court and sought time to produce the same on the next date of hearing.
Justice S P Gupte, however, asked state government “if there is any directive issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India to the State DGPs in the matter of walking of dogs, the State must take an appropriate decision in that behalf and communicate the same to the court by this next date”.
In the meantime, the court asked the State to ensure that police do not to stop or obstruct ambulances or taxies ferrying sick animals to and from veterinary clinics.