Although abandoning an animal is a punishable offence, activists have appealed to the citizens to bring pets home only after making a firm decision. While there is always a debate around animal cruelty, the issue once again came to fore after a Labrador was found deserted in Khar Danda on Wednesday.
Meet Ashar, lawyer and legal advisor for PETA India, said, “We ask that they (people) take in a dog or cat from a shelter or the street if they have the love, time, patience and resources for them. If a family is unable to commit to a dog or cat for their entire lifespans – and they can live up to 20 years – they should not be bringing that animal into their home.”
Under the Indian Penal Code section 289, abandoning animals is an offence punishable with up to six months’ imprisonment, a fine of up to Rs1,000 or both as the act endangers human life by knowingly or negligently failing to care for an animal. The Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules, 2017, framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, also lays down guidelines for breeders and kennel operators. The rules require all breeders to be registered with the Animal Welfare Board. Under sections 3, 11(1)(h) and 11(1)(i), the Act makes it a punishable offence if a person, who is in-charge of an animal, fails to provide it with sufficient food, water or shelter. Even the Supreme Court's 2014 order says that it's the duty of the government to enforce the provisions of the PCA Act along with the court's directions related to the issue.
“Unfortunately, if you abandon or treat an animal cruelly, you cannot be persecuted if you surrender the animal or let it go. This is what the cops tell you when you go to file a case,” said Sameer Vora, who runs an animal shelter, Kalote Animal Trust, near Panvel. The facility recently received a batch of brutalised pit bulls and Rottweilers, who were rescued from a breeder. Dr Deepa Katyar, a veterinarian from Chembur, minced no words while reacting on the issue, “People are selfish. When there is a problem, they can abandon those pets,” she put forth.
Meanwhile, Diya Bhatia, a Khar Danda resident, took the abandoned Labrador to the garage of their building before informing the police. “I couldn't take the dog home because I have a canine and there could be problems between them. The Labrador had been obviously roaming around for days as it was hungry and thirsty. We fed and cleaned him,” said Bhatia.