Animal welfare organisation, People for Animals (PFA), on Tuesday said the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has “illegally and cruelly” removed 1,000 community dogs from the city’s streets over the past three days, ahead of the G20 Summit.
The civic body has denied the allegations.
At a press conference, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) highlighted three principal problems: Sterilised dogs were being picked up against the rules, the dogs were not being tagged, and that they were being sent to far-off pounds, away from their habitats.
This drive has been undertaken in Pragati Maidan,Bhairon Mandir, terminals 1 , 2 and 3 of the Delhi Airport, Aerocity, Mahipalpur, Palam Air Force Station, Qutub Area, Nehru Place, Lal Qila, Raj Ghat, Pusa Road and CBD Shahdara, animal feeders and activists claimed, and dogs have been moved to ABC (animal birth control) centres. However, they said that the New Delhi region, which will see the bulk of the G20-related activities, has seen no such drive.
Ambika Shukla, animal rights activist, a trustee of PFA who is the director of Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC), said there was no need to remove gentle, sterilised dogs in violation of the ABC rules.
“We reached out to MCD to involve us and dog-feeders in the process to help collect dogs safely. However, we were told we would be informed if help is needed. It was not to help them, but to minimise the trauma faced by dogs. Had local caretakers been involved, there would have been no cruelty, dogs would not have been chased, nor would some have gone missing,” she added.
MCD officials denied the allegations. “If the dogs are picked up; it is only on an urgent basis. All the dogs which are picked are always tracked and they will be released back in their habitat. The number of dogs alleged to be picked up is highly exaggerated. There is a need to guard against misinformation being spread. A video was shared by the group a few days ago where the handler seen in it retired last year. This video is being passed as the latest one,” an MCD spokesperson said.
MCD on August 3 issued orders saying it will undertake a month-long drive to remove community dogs from at least 50 key locations, sparking outrage. This was modified the next day, with the reduction of the duration of the drive to a period of one week, after animal rights groups raised concerns over the legality of the process. Two days later, the order was completely withdrawn amid criticism.
Shukla said that since August 5, activists have been pursuing MCD to check if anything is being planned but there has been no answer. “Now, these drives are being carried out across the city in a clandestine manner,” she claimed.
Some animal feeders also said that community dogs have picked up from their areas.
Dr Renu Malviya, a PFA member who feeds dogs in Pragati Maidan, said that a lactating mother with pups was picked up from the area. “Feeders are going to shelters in search of dogs they used to feed but are not being allowed inside,” she said.