Sunday , 19 May 2024
Sunday , 19 May 2024

Stray Animals’ Menace

  • 19 Nov, 2023

High Court takes serious note of the menace and rules for compensatory assistance to victims

The Rising Panjab Bureau

With Punjab logging in 550 dog-bite cases daily, the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s ruling to hold the administration concerned responsible for the stray dog menace would not have come at a more appropriate time.  Looking at the data compiled by the Health Department, Punjab, seven lakh incidents of dog bite in the span of five years is quite alarming and should be taken with the deserving seriousness.  In this year from January to September, 1.46 lakh dog-bite cases have been reported.  Given the statistics, it is obvious that either effective measures to rein in the dog-menace are not in place or there is lack of will in implementing them.  In any case, the state government does not seem concerned enough about the wellbeing of its people.

Taking serious note of the startling number of dog-bite cases in Punjab, a Punjab and Haryana High Court Bench held the State responsible and has put the onus on the state government by ruling that the victims shall be given the assistance as compensation of a minimum of Rs.10,000 per tooth mark and where the flesh has been pulled off the skin, the compensation shall be Rs.20,000 per 0.2 cm of the wound.  

Dog bites are a significant public health concern in India, with increasing number of cases year after year.  The menace is multifaceted, driven by factors such as effective laws to deal with the problem, population density, rapid urbanization, inadequate waste management and the presence of stray dogs.  The stray dogs usually live in close proximity to human settlements and pose serious threat to human lives.  India has a high incidence of rabies cases with many of these cases resulting from dog bites.  Effective control measures, including vaccination campaigns for both pet and stray dogs are essential to reduce the risk of rabies transmission.  Besides, access to prompt and effective medical care is crucial in managing dog bites.  Government initiatives focusing on the sterilization and vaccination of stray dogs, along with stringent measures for controlling the stray dog population, are essential for sustained progress in reducing fatal incidents due to dog bites. 

Efforts to address the menace of dog bites in Punjab should involve a multi-pronged approach that includes community engagement, education, healthcare infrastructure improvement, and effective government policies.  Grievance-redressal mechanisms for the victims should also be made effective and fast track.  

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