This template letter on Google Docs is kind courtesy of the Voice of Stray Dogs, Bangalore and makes for a good resource material for those of you trying to educate their own residential societies (RWAs i.e. Resident Welfare Associations) on the best possible legally correct, scientific and humane way of dealing with the ‘subject’ of street dogs in their colonies.
How to do this yourself?
Firstly, read these two articles to best understand the Rights of Street Dogs in India and the Delhi High Court rulings on the subject of feeding street Dogs, then save the images and the PDF Files embedded in these articles on to your computer, take a print out of these saved files and attach it as annexures to the above letter that you would draft and address to the concerned person in your RWA, seal the letter and send it across through courier or registered post, keep a photocopy of the same set with you. Be strong and fight it out intelligently, the laws are on your side and the dogs, just use your wisdom and intellect to drive the point across to the ‘uninformed’.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the above subject (kind courtesy of People for Animals):
Q) Can people who feed animals in their areas be stopped by the RWAs or Societies or neighbours under the law ?A) Article 51A of the Constitutional Law of India, speaks about the duties of every citizen of India. One of these duties includes having compassion for living creatures. So the animal lover is protected under the Constitution.
Article 19 of the Constitution of India, deals with right to freedom and in this freedom comes the right to profession, occupation, trade and business. Therefore, it means that every citizen has the right to occupation and if someone has taken the caring of animals as his occupation, it is legal and he has every right to carry on with his occupation.
Article 21 of the Constitution of India states the right to personal life and liberty. Now this is the very vast right. If someone wants to feed dogs and provides shelter to the dogs, he has every liberty to do so. He has this right to liberty that the law provides to every citizen of India.
But, above every law and rights, there is a natural right too, which is a universal right, that is inherent in the nature of ethics and contingent on human actions or beliefs. It is the right that is claimed to exist even when it is not enforced by the government or society as a whole. It is the right of the individual and considered beyond the authority of a government or international body to dismiss. Therefore, if there are any rights at all, there must be right to liberty, for all the others depend on this. And, loving, caring and feeding and giving shelter to dogs, definitely is a natural right of any individual.
In a judgment passed by the Delhi Court, it has been stated that the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Municipal authorities have in the guidelines issued by them specified the problem often faced by the individuals and families who adopts stray animals and feed them and come to the assistance of such persons. The court says, that it is necessary to bring into record that these individuals and families who adopt stray animals are doing a great service to the humanity as they are acting in the aid and assistance of municipal authorities by providing these animals with food and shelter and also by getting them vaccinated and sterilized. Without assistance of such persons no local municipal authority can successfully carry out its ABC programs. The court has went on to say that the local police and the municipal authorities are under the obligation not only to encourage such adoption but also to ensure that such persons who come forward to take care of these animals specifically the community or neighbourhood dogs so that they are not subjected to any kind of cruelty.And finally, the court has said that every individual has a right to live his life in the manner he wants and it is necessary that the society and the community recognizes it.
Q) Can an RWA/Society or any individual pick up the dogs in a colony that are sterilized and vaccinated and throw them away somewhereA) Under the Government of India Animal Birth Control rules 2001 , no sterilized dogs can be relocated from their area. Under 5 High Court orders , sterilized dogs have to be in their original areas. Even if the dog is not sterilized , the Society can simply ask an animal welfare organization to sterilize and vaccinate the dog. They cannot relocate him. Relocation is not permissible as it would cause more problems such as increase of dog bites as dogs are territorial by nature and fight to retain their areas keeping out other dogs.