3 youths detained for animal cruelty during Deepavali

Bhadravathi Police said they found the dog (pcitured centre) and said that it's condition is good. (Photo Courtesy Police)

A shocking incidence of animal cruelty which was filmed at the start of Deepavali in the state has highlighted the plight of domesticated animals during the festival of lights.

In the video, which was leaked to the media on Monday, a group of young men in Bhadravathi can be seen tying a whip cracker to the tail of a stray dog on Saturday night (October 26) and igniting the fuse. The 12-second video shows the animal howling and running into the night.

The incident has prompted outrage among animal welfare and activists circles on Tuesday as the video circulated on social media and on WhatsApp groups. “This is sick,” said activist Priya Chetty-Rajagopal who runs the CJ Memorial Trust, which deals with animal and environmental issues.

Police at the Bhadravathi Rural police station, which was charged with investigating the case, said that it identified the owner of a motorcycle which appeared in the video, based on its license plate, KA14ET0510. 

The senior police officer told DH that it had summoned the owner, Umesh H S, and his father to the station to explain themselves. “The individual admitted it was his bike, but claimed he was not present at the scene,” the officer said.

Although Bhadravathi police said they were not filing a complaint, queries from DH prompted Shekar Hanumanthappa, the Additional Superintendent of Police for Shimoga to say on Tuesday night that an FIR would be filed. “Our people will investigate the matter,” he told DH.

On Wednesday, police said they detained three men on official charges of animal cruelty.

The three individuals were identified as Nithin, Mithun and Bharath. Police said that since the offence was non-cognizable, that the youths were later released. Under India’s 1960-era prevention of animal cruelty laws carry a maximum fine weight of Rs 50. 

Bhadravathi Police added that they have found the animal and that it is unhurt.  

Lawyer Amruthesh N P, who was filed several PILs related to animal welfare issues, said that State Animal Welfare Board, which was reactivated in August 2018, has hundred per cent authority to prosecute cases of animal abuse. 

“However, the Board lacks the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, even though it is mandated by a Supreme Court order. This society is required to tackle cruelty cases,” he said.

According to Gopinath Shankar of CUPA, the use of explosive firecrackers during Deepavali prompts the disappearance of many street animals and pets. “Although firecracker use has reduced in comparison to previous years, we have had many reports of dogs and cats having run away in fright,” Shankar said.

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