FIR filed against breeder over animal abuse

Social media fury over animal abuse leads to FIR on breeder

Puttenahalli Police acknowledged that the breeder had not yet been arrested. Photo Courtesy: Alwyn Sebastian

Outrage over images of animal abuse at a kennel operated breeder which began circulating on social media last week, has prompted an FIR to be filed against the breeder.

The case has highlighted the rampant animal abuse taking place in city-wide kennels, activists said.

The FIR was filed at the Puttenahalli police station on September 19, after activists were tipped off about 27 animals kept under cruel and unusual conditions. Images of the abuse surreptitiously filmed by an informant have caused a furore on social media. The resulting public pressure is said to have prompted police to inspect the facility, which has since been closed.

However, the breeder, one Shreyas, is said to be in hiding as of Saturday, with 17 of the dogs still missing.

The incident was escalated after Harish K B, an animal welfare officer, who, with police and another volunteer, visited the kennel on the 19th. Harish said he was appalled by the state of the animals. “The cages were unclean. The animals, which were all pedigree breeds, ranging from Shih Tzus to Siberian Huskies, showed signs of various degrees of abuse and neglect. Some had bloodstains on their coats,” he said.

A video supplied by the informant to police allegedly also shows a dead Shih Tzu lying with other animals in the cage. “However, the breeder claims this image has been doctored by the informant,” Harish said.

Priya Chetty-Rajgopal of Heritage Beku, who is following the case, said that conditions are similar across 1,000 breeding kennels in the city.

According to Harish, five grievously ill animals were immediately removed from the kennel and sent to a rehabilitation center run by CUPA, followed by another five on Friday. However, the status of the remaining 17 animals is unknown.

As per the central government notification issued by the MoEF in August, 2017, all breeders need to have been registered and licensed by the concerned State Animal Welfare Board. Harish said that the breeder does not have a license.

Advocate Alwyn Sebastian said that the “pet market” industry is estimated at Rs 800 crore as of 2015 and has an annual growth rate of 20%. “Since the industry is unregulated, black money and tax evasion is integral to the trade,” he said.
    
He added that the 15 feet by 9 feet enclosure had no windows or any form of ventilation. “There were no fans or lights. There were a total of 27 dogs; 22 female dogs and 5 puppies that were cramped inside the enclosure with metal barricades to separate them. The entire terrace was reeking of feces and urine that had remained uncleaned for days,” he said.

Puttenahalli Police acknowledged that the breeder had not yet been arrested. “We have given him until Sunday to supply us with his licensing and breeding documents,” police said.

Chetty-Rajgopal said that she was shocked to learn that many of the dogs were still at the Kennel as of Thursday. “When the complaint has been raised and a letter issued by the Karnataka Animal Welfare Board to police asking that the animals be removed from the kennel, why hasn’t this been done?” she asked.