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The Supreme Court has stayed a Delhi High Court order related to the feeding of stray dogs. The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the Humane Foundation for People & Animals challenging the June 24, 2021 order of the High Court. 

A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose issued notices to the Animal Welfare Board of India, Delhi government, and others on an appeal filed by an NGO against the High Court order.

The NGO contended that the High Court's order can lead to an increase in the menace of stray dogs.

According to the NGO, a pet dog can be prevented from biting and attacking people and other animals by physical restraint. However, with stray dogs it is difficult, therefore feeding in societies, streets, or at any public places is a direct risk to citizens.

"A dog under human supervision and control and dependent on its human caretakers for all of its needs can be prevented from biting and attacking people and other animals by physical restraint, confinement to private property, and suppressing aggressive tendencies with care and training. This is not the case with stray dogs, therefore feeding in societies, streets, or at any public places is a direct risk to citizens," the NGO said.

The Delhi High Court had said that even stray dogs have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed the animal. But the court observed that citizens need to take care and caution so that it does not harm others.

"Community dogs (stray/street dogs) have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed community dogs but in exercising this right, care and caution should be taken to ensure that it does not impinge upon the rights of others or cause any harm, hindrance, harassment and nuisance to other individuals or members of the society," the High Court had said.

It had been said that street dogs perform the role of community scavengers and also control the rodent population in the area, thus preventing the spread of diseases like leptospirosis and they also provide companionship to those who feed them and act as their stress relievers.

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