Law backs animal rescues

Law backs animal rescues

What do you do when you see a pet being subjected to cruelty? Report it

Rescued pets at a CUPA centre in Bengaluru.(PICTURE FOR REPRESENTATION ONLY)

Earlier this week, a two-month-old Labrador was rescued from her pet parents as they were not treating her properly. 

She was constantly tied up, fed inadequately, left in the sun, and not given a bath.

A neighbour noticed this and alerted a group called Animal Rescue Bangalore on Facebook, and in the process also drew the attention of other animal welfare volunteers.  The owners of the puppy now face a case under Section 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. According to the law, the owners can be punished with a fine or jailed for up to three months. A provision says it is a crime to “neglect to exercise…. any dog habitually chained up or kept in close confinement.” 

The pup is now under the care of CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action).

FOUR CASES A DAY

This is not the first time a case like this has been reported. In fact, Sandhya Madappa of CUPA witnesses three or four such cases every day. 

“Most people don’t know there are laws to protect animals. There are organisations, volunteers and legal experts to deal with cruelty cases,” she says.

On Facebook, many animal lovers upload pictures and videos of pets being mistreated. 

COMPASSION ACTION

Mandy Vasudevan, volunteer, admits it is not possible for volunteers to attend to all cases. 

But she offers tips for those who want to intervene when they notice instances of cruelty towards animals.

Her advice: “First of all, gather as much information as you can. Approach a welfare officer or NGO before you speak to the family. Report to the police —you have no authority to take action yourself. Stay calm and keep the family calm. It’s important to be empathetic.”

When a case is filed, it’s important that you follow up. “The NGOs have other cases to deal with; they may not be able to respond to you right away, so just follow up,” she says. 

The process also involves counselling of pet parents by welfare workers, police and volunteers. The animal is confiscated only if the owners do not follow the advice given to them.

Sandhya explains how the handing over and confiscation of pets should be done only in the presence of policemen. 

“To make the pet parent understand is our primary approach. But if we see active cruelty, we don’t wait. We head straight to the police, file a complaint and go with the authorities to rescue the dog,” she says. 

Just in the last year, her group has rescued 14 dogs that way. 

And what happens to the pets after they are rescued? 

They go to an NGO shelter or a foster home and eventually find a new home. 

Trespass question

What do you do when you see animal cruelty? Is it all right to enter someone else’s house to rescue the animal?

Advocate Arun BK says you can, and it does not amount to trespass.

“As a citizen, you are well within your rights to stop an offence from taking place. However, you can’t take any action on your own. Always go with a policeman with proof, and do not go in there by yourself,” he says.

Where you can report

If you see a case of animal cruelty, observe and take photos or videos as proof.

Facebook groups such as The Cubbon Park Canines, The Barking Lot, CUPA - Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Bangalore, and Charlie’s Animal Rescue Centre (CARE) take note of such cases.

If you come across illegal pet stores, you can use the hashtag #IllegalPetShops and upload pictures on social media. This is an initiative by Maneka
Gandhi, MP.

Need for better law

While there is a Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in place, many feel that it’s not enough.

Officials across departments need to be made aware of its provisions, and that calls for conferences and workshops, say NGOs.

The police should have a cell for animal cases or at least one person in every station should be devoted to animal welfare cases,
volunteers say.

Types of animal cruelty

- The animal is tortured, beaten up or illtreated and its life is at risk.

- The animal is not provided with enough water, food, treatment.

- It is tied in the sun for a long time or confined to a cage all the time.

- It is given all the care in the world but is emotionally neglected.

- It does not have a social life (interaction with its own kind and humans).

- Breeder cases: Animals are given just enough care to keep them alive to produce puppies.