Animal cruelty on rise in Odisha, police empathy not enough

In incidents where strays are being run over by speeding vehicles, accused are not being booked under Section 279 which can make the punishment stringent

Published: 26th June 2021 09:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2021 09:26 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  A pregnant cow and a bull sustained severe burn injuries when miscreants allegedly threw hot water or oil on the animals at Niladri Vihar recently. When pictures of the injured cattle went viral on social media, animal lovers demanded stringent action against those involved in the horrifying act.
An NGO, Insaniyat, lodged a complaint with Chandrasekharpur police in this connection and took the injured animals to their shelter-home where they are being provided treatment. The accused, though, are yet to be arrested.

A month back, a woman of Sambalpur district poisoned six stray dogs to death. In the last two months, incidents of a person feeding two kittens to the stray dogs and a man running over an SUV on five puppies were reported in the Capital city.

With such gruesome and intentional acts of cruelty against animals rising, there is a growing demand that police deal with such brutality by invoking stronger sections of Indian Penal Code since the existing Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is not strong enough and perpetrators are getting away.

People for Animals secretary Jiban Ballav Das said, as of now, the offenders are punished under the decades-old Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Sections 428 and 429 of the IPC. In a bid to prevent abuse of the speechless creatures, the government has prepared a draft to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, he informed.

Activists feel there is a lack of empathy and support from police in such cases. Burdened with daily crimes and law and order duty, police stations have little time or inclination in registering and investigating animal cruelty cases.

“While such cases are considered a general waste of time, there is very little re-orientation the police field staff get for cases related to animal cruelty. Even wildlife crimes did not get enough attention till a few years back but growing focus compelled police to change its approach. The same must happen with animal cruelty,” said an animal activist.

In incidents where strays are being run over by speeding vehicles, the accused are not being booked under Section 279 (rash or negligent driving) which can make the punishment stringent. To make a case stronger, police could do its bit but they are not bothered, activists point out.

Another organisation Speak for Animals receives five to six calls of animal cruelty everyday and on some days, the number of such calls goes up to 15, says founder Kusal Biswas. Calls received by his organisation are pertaining to stray cattle, dogs and cats hit by speeding vehicles, hot water/oil thrown at them, poisoning or beating them to death and abandoning of pet animals.

“In only 20 per cent of animal cruelty cases, legal action is being initiated. In the remaining, no action is taken due to lack of evidence like CCTV footage and witnesses,” said Biswas. Police Commissioner SK Priyadarshi said in such incidents, cases are being immediately registered and investigation is launched to nab the accused.


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