More than one lakh people in Kerala have been bitten by dogs in 2015-16, a Supreme Court-appointed panel said while warning that frequent stray dog attacks on children in the state have created a dangerous situation. “India is a nation with substantial fatal rabies cases, mainly due to stray dog bites. Kerala is estimated to have stray dog population of 2.5 lakhs, which feed lavishly on the wastes and garbages dumps across cities and towns. Frequent stray dog attacks on children in Kerala have created a dangerous situation.
“There have been incidents of stray dogs chasing, attacking and biting school children, aged persons, pedestrians, morning walkers and two-wheeler riders…More than one lakh people in the state have been bitten by dogs in 2015-16,” a three-member committee headed by former Kerala High Court judge Justice S S Jagan said in its report. The committee also comprising the state law secretary and the director health services, filed the report before a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit.
The bench directed the committee to continue its work and asked the state government to provide all necessary infrastructre to it. On April 5, the apex court had appointed the committee to look into the aspect of treatment of people who have been bitten by stray dogs and the claims of compensation.
The court is hearing a batch of appeals, including those filed by Animal Welfare Board and dog lovers, against the decisions of some high courts, including the Bombay High Court and the Kerala High Court, to allow municipal authorities to deal with the stray dogs menace as per the rules. The apex court had earlier declined to pass an interim order to stay culling of stray dogs by Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation on a PIL by advocate Anupam Tripathi, saying the killing of dangerous dogs and those infected with rabies should be guided by the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.