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Nagpur: Expressing concern over the way stray dogs were kept in cramped cages, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the civic body to explain why these animals were detained and then released.

The directives came while hearing two intervention applications filed in the case lodged by social activist Vijay Talewar in 2006 praying for controlling the growing stray dog menace in the city. The first one was filed by animal rights activist and lawyer Ankita Shah through counsel Sandeep Badana and another by Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization.

The intervenors accused the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) of illegally detaining the strays in gross violation of Animal Birth Control Rules (Dogs) 2001, and also the Supreme Court orders. They contended that the dogs were kept in cages for over 10 days, which amounts to cruelty under Section 11(1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

The intervenors prayed for directives to the NMC to release the dogs at the earliest and not to repeat the act. Quoting Shah and other animal rights activists, TOI had reported how the NMC had kept the canines after capturing them.

NMC counsel Gemini Kasat said the authorities had captured 24 dogs from Dhantoli and other localities and released them all.

“On going through both these applications, the impression one gets is that the intervenors are basically interested in ensuring welfare of dogs. This is something which this court would also like to do, by striking a balance between welfare of human beings and stray dogs,” a division bench comprising justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Pansare said.

“About the reason for dogs’ detention and release later, the NMC counsel submits that he would seek appropriate instructions and address the court on this aspect, on next date of hearing. The registry is directed to register this petition as public interest litigation (PIL),” the bench said while allowing both interventions and adjourning the hearing till November 23.

One more intervention was already filed by Dhantoli Nagrik Mandal through counsels Ashwin Deshpande and Aradhya Pande, after which the HC, on October 20, came out with a landmark order banning feeding of stray dogs in public places. It also made feeders mandatory to register such dogs with NMC and take them homes or officially designated places for feeding.

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