Last week an 80 year old man in Mumbai was beaten up by three goondas for feeding dogs and cats near his home. The police refused to register a case until my lawyer went to the station. In Thane, the RWA secretary stuffed a puppy’s mouth with cloth and then beat it to death. Many people in the building went to the police with the postmortem report. The police refused to take cognizance until I stepped in. In Delhi a doctor called Kuldeep Tayal in Vasant Kunj sat on an old female dog and stabbed her eyes out with his bunch of keys. The people who went to the police station could not get the police to respond. Again I had to call and he was arrested after weeks of dillydallying. A man keeps 5 dogs in a cage on his roof and breeds and sells them. The neighbours who complain are asked by the police what their locus standi is. In Karnataka a man throws acid on a buffalo for entering his fields. The complainant sits for three hours at the police station before he calls me. A team of animal activists stop a truck in Pune. They are attacked with guns and lathis by the illegal butchers. They call the police frantically. They do not turn up. A college dean in Seoni ties up puppies with barbed wire and throws them outside the campus. Outraged students call the police who ask them to respect their teachers. Then they call me and then he backs down.
The police in India does not understand what the rest of the world’s police forces have understood and acted on. That cruelty to animals is directly linked to cruelty to human beings. In the West they have computers in which any complaints about animal cruelty are directly fed into a crime computer and become part of the record of the human being that has been cruel. The police then keep a special computer watch on this person. In almost every case, the police say, within a few years the same person will come up before the police for beating his family, armed robbery, rape or murder. In India, every time a complainant goes to the police they will respond negatively. None of them know the laws. First they ask the complainant what his/her locus standi is. Then, after they make a written complaint, they refuse to turn it into an FIR. Finally, when the FIR is made, they will take money from the accused and bring in the complainant at odd hours for a ”compromise” – as if it is a personal matter between two people.
The whole country has now understood that unless there is severe police reform, we cannot be protected. The police are the most vicious of all. Half of the people who complain to me and have police dealings say that they will ignore animal cruelty in future because dealing with the police made them sick. Getting them to move on the case took weeks and hundreds of calls. Getting them to move honestly without asking for money is not possible – especially in the case of illegal animal slaughter. In Tamil Nadu, not one case was booked for years – even though 2 lakh cows are jammed into trucks and sent weekly to Kerala. Then, finally with the combination of Chief Minister Dr. Jayalalithaa, an honest DGP and a dynamic Animal Husbandry secretary, Tamil Nadu has suddenly ordered its police to catch illegal trucks. In one night 26 trucks with over 2000 animals were caught. Even then, in one district, the police caught the animals , gave them to a shelter and then arrived at the shelter two days later to threaten the shelter owner into returning the animals to the smugglers. When I complained about the local SP to the DGP, the SP made up a pack of lies that the shelter owner was demanding money to keep them. Finally the shelter owner went to court – and the police opposed her in court, taking the side of the smugglers – and she won the case keeping the animals.
Odisha has a steady traffic of cows to the slaughterhouses of Andhra Pradesh. Any animal activist who tries to stop them is arrested by the police. One was even urinated on. Animal activists lead brave but dangerous lives.
Until now the humble widow on the street who feeds fifteen dogs has been unprotected. When she is recognized as a public servant, then the activist who is trying to save the cows of India will get far more strength.
The first step in giving recognition and protection to people who take care of animals in their colonies has been made by the government. They have started issuing cards called Colony Caretakers to people who look after animals in their areas. These cards will be useful for the police who only back down in front of government might. You can see the forms on the site of the Animal Welfare Board of India (www.awbi.org.) Theyare easy to fill in. You need to send your photos and some form of ID. If you cannot send this through the Net then you can send them by normal mail to-
The Secretary, ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA, 3/1, Third Seaward Road, Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai - 600 041.
Thousands of people have responded in the large cities. I am writing this for you today so that you can inform people in smaller towns and villages across India. Let the government also see that animal welfare people run into lakhs and are every bit as determined to do good and to preserve this country’s culture of kindness, as the police and criminals are to destroy it.
Pl. add: To join the animal welfare movement contact firstname.lastname@example.org, www.peopleforanimalsindia.org
*Proper wildlife rehabilitation is an extremely biologically and ecologically responsible attitude toward all living things.*