Karnataka HC Quashes Centre’s Ban On ‘Ferocious’ Dogs - Vibes Of India

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Karnataka HC Quashes Centre’s Ban On ‘Ferocious’ Dogs

| Updated: April 11, 2024 11:51

Courts says pet owners and other stakeholders were not consulted

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday squashed a circular issued by the central government that banned 23 breeds of ‘ferocious dogs considered dangerous for human life’. 

The court noted that “none of the stakeholders”, especially pet owners, were consulted before the decision was announced. The order was issued by a single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna. The order said the central government could issue a revised circular after proper consultation with experts and adhering to due process.

“It is an admitted fact that none of the stakeholders were heard. The composition of the committee is not in consonance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The Union of India could not have imposed the ban without a recommendation from a properly constituted committee,” the order said. 

The judge added that the circular “travels beyond what is found in Animal Birth Control Rules” and “cannot but be held to be contrary to the law and therefore has to be obliterated”.

Consulting stakeholders

The court stressed the importance of consulting pet owners, organisations certifying dog breeds, and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “The focus of such consultations should be on responsible pet ownership,” it added.

The order was passed following a joint petition filed by a professional dog handler and the owner of a Rottweiler. Their contention was that the expert committee, whose recommendations prompted the circular, had not consulted stakeholders. 

Representing the petitioners before the High Court was advocate Swaroop Anand P, while Additional Solicitor General Aravind Kamat presented the case for the central government.

The circular had urged all states and Union territories to prohibit 23 breeds of dogs deemed ‘ferocious’ and hazardous to human life. It was issued after the central government’s assurance to the Delhi High Court in December 2023 to address the demand for a ban on licences for breeds categorised as dangerous.

Arbitrary, say petitioners

The petition argued that the circular was highly arbitrary, lacked jurisdiction, and exhibited discrimination. The plea also argued that no particular dog breed can be identified as an aggressive breed. Any stand-alone incident of attack by the breed can be attributed only to untrained and unsocialised dogs, it added. 

There were several dog breeds which were not covered under the circular which have also caused dog attacks, the petition added. 

The circular named breeds such as the Pitbull Terrier, Tosa Inu, American Bulldog, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Mastiffs , Rottweiler and Terriers among those prohibited.

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