Thursday, December 31, 2009

No one entitled to keep dogs as a right: Madras HC

No one entitled to keep dogs as a right: Madras HC
Says Barking, Howling Could Be Construed As Public Nuisance

Chennai: No one is entitled to keep dogs or other animals in residential areas as a “matter of right,” the Madras High Court has ruled. The court also observed that barking and howling of dogs and their emitting a foul odour could be construed as “public nuisance.”
Justice S Tamilvanan gave the ruling while upholding an order by the Coimbatore authorities to a dog owner to remove the canines at his home on the ground that it annoyed and inconvenienced other residents of the area. The authorities had served the order following a complaint from some residents.
“It was not in dispute that unbearable noise or foul smell can be an annoyance and hence a public nuisance,” the judge said, adding that keeping dogs in a residential area spreads a foul smell that is injurious to public health.
“No one is entitled to keep dogs or other animals in residential areas as a matter of right,” the judge said, adding, “noise pollution and emitting foul smell by keeping dogs is no way a lesser hazard than a factory creating noise pollution.”
The judge said, “It has been established in the present case that barking and howling of dogs has caused inconvenience and annoyance to the complainants,” Justice Tamilvanan said. The court dismissed the review petition filed by D Vikram, a resident of Coimbatore, challenging the order by the authorities concerned to direct him to “remove forthwith his dogs” following a complaint. The court gave its verdict last week.
At least three residents had complained to sub-divisional magistrate/revenue district officer that Vikram’s dogs, about 30 in number, kept barking and howling at nights, besides emitting a foul smell. Vikram contended that the Coimbatore authorities had failed to note that the complainants had an animosity towards him due to his success in competitions conducted by the kennel club.

The judge, in his order passed last week, pointed out that it was the duty of the respective district authorities and municipal administration to regulate and remove the nuisance in public interest. The neighbours in their complaint claimed that the dog owner was violating Section 352 of the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation Act. AGENCIES

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