CHENNAI: Mischief mongers who enjoy Deepavali by tying crackers to tails of stray animals or by throwing crackers at them, beware. Such acts can land you in jail this time. The animal husbandry department this year, has decided to deal with such miscreants with an iron hand.
“The department will initiate legal action against those found causing any physical and mental discomfort to stray animals by exploding crackers near them. Animal welfare is our prime concern now,” said TS Jawahar, Additional Chief Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairying, Fisheries and Fishermen Welfare department.
“Section 11 (1) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, prohibits causing unnecessary pain and sufferings to animals. Anyone found acting in any manner that would compromise the safety and the well-being of any animal will be prosecuted by law-enforcing agencies under the relevant rules in force,” Jawahar added.
Collectors who head the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) at the district level, regional joint director of animal husbandry, assistant director of animal husbandry and veterinary assistant surgeon of the concerned district can initiate legal action against the culprits with the help of the police department. All these officials will be directed to keep a watch on such incidents, during Deepavali, he said.
Animal activists said in the last few years, they have witnessed a downfall in burn injuries among stray animals during Deepavali due to rising awareness among people. However, loud noise of crackers has a terrifying effect on stray animals. “Usually on Deepavali day, we receive calls to rescue animals injured in road accidents. Animals have a sharper sense of hearing than humans. They often panic and run helter-skelter on hearing the high-decibel firecrackers and are hit by vehicles,” said Shravan Krishnan, founder of Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary. “People should be a little more cautious and humane towards stray animals,” he added.
Mala, who owns seven horses and earns livelihood through them, relates to their pain. “Of the seven horses, the youngest one is just five years old. He starts panicking the moment a cracker goes off. As Deepavali nears, I don’t send him outside at all and keep him tied near my home,” said Mala.