The Bombay High Court has directed the state government to issue a clear directive to the police administration to not to stop or obstruct ambulances or pet taxies for ferrying sick animals to and from veterinary clinics.
A Writ petition was filed by the Petitioner who is an animal welfare activist. The matter was heard by the bench of Justice S.C. Gupte, whereby the respondent was the state of Maharashtra represented by Government Pleader and its assistant.
The grievance of the Petitioner was that as a result of the lock-down ordered by the State due to Covid-19 pandemic, police stations have been arbitrarily stopping citizens from taking their pets, more specifically dogs, for walks. It was said by the petitioner that police stations have issued arbitrary directions to housing societies to stop residents from taking their dogs for walks. Also, the ambulances or pet taxies operated by NOGs and others to ferry animals from their shelters or pet owners to veterinary clinics and back are being arbitrarily stopped and obstructed by the police administration. It is submitted that the police administration is refusing to issue passes for these ambulances and pet taxies.
Learned Counsel for the Petitioner contended that the Petitioner’s information was that 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 has been reported in the press. Learned Counsel, however, was not in a position to produce any such directive in the court. He had sought time to produce it on the next date.
Learned AGP said that the State directives prohibit people from walking their dogs outside compounds of societies or homes and not from walking them within the compounds. He further added that so far as ambulances or pet taxies for ferrying of sick animals to and from veterinary clinics are concerned, the State has not asked its police administration to stop or obstruct such ambulances or pet taxies.
Therefore, the High court of Bombay held that
“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 State is directed to issue a clear directive to the police administration not to stop or obstruct ambulances or pet taxies for ferrying sick animals to and from veterinary clinics.
So far as walking of dogs and petering to their needs through animal fidders are concerned, the State to communicate its stand through an affidavit to be filed before this court by the next date”.