Feeding or sheltering stray dogs in the common area of a private property can cause nuisance, the Delhi High Court has said, warning two south Delhi residents to ensure that the canines do not cause fear or discomfort to others. A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli told the two respondents that they cannot be permitted to keep stray dogs in the common driveway of a private property which was jointly owned by others, if their neighbours did not approve. The court also said in a recent order that the two cannot feed the dogs or chain them in the driveway. The bench said it was the duty of the two “to ensure that the stray dogs do not cause any nuisance to the other residents within the same property and in the neighbourhood”. The court noted that keeping stray dogs would “cause fear and discomfort” to others living or coming there “who are not accustomed to keeping pet dogs”.
“The nuisance caused by the conduct of respondent nos.3 and 4 (the two individual respondents) in sheltering the stray dogs in the common driveway in the present case is writ large from the photographs placed on record. “To a person, who is not accustomed to keeping pet dogs, it also causes fear and discomfort to walk into a property where stray dogs are kept either chained or let loose,” it said. The bench said it “rues the lack of civic sense and concern exhibited” by the two towards their fellow inhabitants in their immediate neighbourhood.
“Their concern for the stray dogs also appears to us to be superficial and lacks commitment. Otherwise, the dogs would not have been left in such unhygienic and filthy conditions, as appear from the photographs on record,” the bench said. It directed them to “stop chaining, feeding or sheltering the stray dogs in the driveway of the aforesaid property. It shall also be the obligation of respondent nos.3 and 4 to ensure that the said dogs do not defecate in the driveway, and if they do so, it shall be their responsibility to clean up the same.”
It directed the Station House Officer of Malviya Nagar police station, under whose jurisdiction the property fell, to ensure strict compliance of this order. The order came on the plea by one Om Prakash Saini, who jointly holds the property with the two respondents, claiming that keeping and feeding the stray dogs in the common driveway was “causing immense nuisance and harassment for the other residents”. The court has listed the matter for further hearing on September 1.
The order comes in the backdrop of a January order of the Supreme Court which categorically said “stray dogs have a right to live.” During that hearing, the apex court had reacted sharply when a submission was made that such canines should be completely eliminated across the country. The apex court has been hearing a batch of petitions on issues relating to orders passed by various civic bodies on culling of stray dogs, especially in Kerala and Mumbai.
Earlier this month, the chairman and four members of the a Kerala municipality had apologised in the Supreme Court for the killing of stray dogs, despite its orders against culling. The apex court bench had on May 8 issued notices to them and an NGO on a contempt petition over butchering of stray dogs, despite its orders against it.