From the Viewsroom

‘The dog it was that died’

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on August 14, 2019 Published on August 14, 2019

Harsher penalties and punishment needed for cruelty to animals

When heavy rains pelted down on Mumbai recently, a little brown dog took shelter in a swank building in the heart of the city. A familiar scene, anywhere in the world. When there’s bad weather, humans and animals alike take temporary shelter.

But it’s what happened next that brought good citizens in the city out on the roads in protest. ‘Lucky’, the dog, was beaten up allegedly by the building’s guards and died after battling hard for life for about 13 days. Whether the guards acted on their own or on instructions from the building’s residents/caretakers is something the police will have to investigate, as concerned citizens had officially reported this act of animal cruelty. The guards are reportedly out on bail. Even if they are punished under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the maximum penalty for a first offence of animal abuse is, hold your breath, ₹50. People working in animal welfare have called for harsher penalties and punishment; some recommend a ₹25,000 penalty and a jail term of three years. And here’s the chilling reason why the government should take these recommendations seriously. According to information in the public domain from police departments, medical professionals and people who profile serial killers link violence against animals to signs of aberrant violent behaviour that is more likely to target humans as well — children, women, the elderly, anyone vulnerable.

Citizens need to be sensitised on being compassionate to humans and animals as cohabitants on Earth with equal rights. But the law needs to do its job and crack down on the perpetrator of the crime, the security guards in this case, and anyone else who may have instructed them. Because when all other raging discussions on Lucky fall silent, to quote Oliver Goldsmith here, “the dog it was that died.”

The author is a Deputy Editor of The Hindu BusinessLine

Published on August 14, 2019
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