Updated April 10th, 2024 at 17:24 IST

Karnataka High Court Halts Controversial Circular Banning Specific Dog Breeds

Karnataka High Court halts Ministry circular banning certain dog breeds, citing lack of stakeholder consultation; further hearing set.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Karnataka High Court Halts Ban On "ferocious and dangerous" Dog Breeds | Image:Unsplash
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In a recent development, the Karnataka High Court has intervened to stay the operation of a controversial circular issued by the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying department. The circular, which aimed to ban the rearing of specific breeds of dogs on the grounds of them being deemed "ferocious and dangerous to human life," has faced legal challenge.

A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order on a petition filed by one King Solomon David, a dog trainer, and another petitioner. The operation of the circular has been stayed specifically in the State of Karnataka, clarifies the bench.

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The circular in question listed several breeds of dogs that were to be banned, including Pitbull Terrier, Tosa Inu, American Staffordshire Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, American Bulldog, Boerboel, Kangal, Central Asian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka), Caucasian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka), South Russian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka), Tornjak, Sarplaninac, Japanese Tosa, Akita, Mastiffs (boerbulls), Rottweiler, Terriers, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Wolf Dogs, Canario, Akbash dog, Moscow Guard dog, Cane corso, and every dog of the type commonly known as a Ban Dog (or Bandog).

Moreover, the circular mandated owners of these breeds to sterilize their pets and cease further breeding. This directive was issued following recommendations by an Expert Committee, chaired by the Animal Husbandry Commission, comprising members from various stakeholder organizations and experts. The committee labeled the aforementioned breeds as 'ferocious and dangerous to human life.'

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However, the Deputy Solicitor General of India informed the court that the circular was issued based on an order from the Delhi High Court in a public interest litigation. The Delhi High Court had directed the consideration of a representation seeking to cancel and ban licenses for keeping dangerous dogs within three months. Nevertheless, the Karnataka High Court highlighted that the Delhi High Court had unequivocally directed that all stakeholders must be consulted before any decision. Noting the absence of consultation with the Kennel Club of India, the court emphasized, "The circular refers to members of several stakeholder organizations being a part of the Expert Committee, there are several who would not be heard."

Taking into account the petitioners' argument that determining whether a particular breed of dog is 'ferocious and dangerous to human life' requires expertise, the court observed, "The High Court of Delhi had clearly indicated that all the stakeholders shall be consulted, not a few or various. All means, each and every, the Kennel Club of India is one, which is not consulted is the submission." Consequently, the court stayed the circular and directed the Deputy Solicitor General of India to produce the documents that were considered in the decision-making process of the impugned circular.

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The matter is scheduled to be heard again on April 5th, highlighting the ongoing legal battle surrounding the regulation of certain dog breeds in the country.
 

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Published March 20th, 2024 at 17:28 IST