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March 4, 2021

By-laws for dealing with stray dogs drafted, SHC informed

Karachi

March 4, 2021

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed the local government secretary to submit a progress report with regard to the approval of by-laws for dealing with the matter of stray dogs under the Sindh Local Government Act 2013.

Hearing a petition calling for the control of the population of stray dogs and availability of free anti-rabies vaccine, a division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar inquired the local government secretary, Najam Ahmed Shah, about the framing of by-laws to deal with stray dogs.

The secretary submitted that a committee has been constituted under the Section 139 of the Sindh Local Government Act to make the by-laws regarding the matters enumerated in the clauses 8, 9 and 10 of the schedule VIII of the Act which deals with detention, destruction and enforcement of vaccination of stray dogs.

He also attached a copy of the draft by-laws of population control and mass vaccination of stray dogs. He said a committee had approved the draft by-laws and he had already forwarded the same for vetting by the law department.

The local government secretary assured the high court that as soon as vetting was completed, the draft shall be sent to the provincial cabinet for approval. A provincial law officer also assured that as soon as the draft of by-laws was forwarded for the approval of the cabinet, the same shall be placed in the very next meeting of the cabinet. He sought time to file a progress report.

Regarding the rabies control programme and its implementation, the project director of the programme submitted that funds had already been allocated and the procurement committee with the consultation of technical stakeholders, including the Indus Hospital, would convene a meeting for supplying vaccines for the rabies control programme.

He said that the tender for supplying of vaccination shall be invited in the newspapers according to the relevant procurement rules. He submitted that the procurement process will be completed within three months. A counsel for the District Municipal Corporations and cantonment boards assured the SHC that they would continue their efforts to minimise the incidents of dog biting in their territorial jurisdictions and all best possible efforts would be made.

The high court directed the local government secretary and the project director to submit progress reports with regard to the approval of by-laws and rabies control programme within six weeks.

Advocate M Tariq Mansoor had submitted in his petition that Health Minister Dr Azra Pechuho had said before the Sindh Assembly that over 92,000 dog-bite cases had been reported across the province in a year by June 30, 2019.

He said that according to the minister, there was also shortage of rabies vaccine due to the ongoing tension with India and the closure of a Chinese company’s operations.

He added that dog-bite incidents had been worsening day by day due to the failure of the provincial and local administrations to deal with the situation, pointing out that neither were stray dogs being caught nor was the vaccine available at hospitals.