KOCHI: Over 100 stray dogs were poisoned to death and dumped into the waste yard of Thrikkakara municipality in a span of nearly 12 months by a four-member gang allegedly on the orders of Thrikkakara municipality.
After the incident came to the light, the Kerala High Court directed the municipality to file an affidavit regarding the steps taken with the killing of stray dogs by the gang in Thrikkakara.
A division bench comprising Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Gopinath P directed the Thrikkakkara municipality to ensure that no such incident takes place within the territorial limits of it in the future and to put in place suitable machinery for that purpose.
The gruesome act surfaced on Friday when a resident of an apartment, residing near the dumping yard of Thrikkakara municipality, shot a video of some persons discarding a dog's carcass at the yard and sent it to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) official.
"Based on the video footage we received from the youngster, we conducted an investigation early on Friday. During this investigation, we came to know the shocking incident. The four-member gang is also staying in the community hall owned by the municipality," said Sajeev TK, secretary, SPCA-Ernakulam.
The equipment they used to kill the dogs was also recovered from the community hall. As per the information, the municipality offered Rs 500 for killing a dog, sources said. Though Infopark police traced the vehicle and arrested a member of the gang -- Shaijon (49) of Morakkala Perumbavoor -- the other three members, all hailing from Kozhikode, are absconding.
It is learnt that the driver has given a statement before the police that a junior health inspector of Thrikkakara municipality hired them after people started complaining about the stray dog menace.
SPCA officials said the carcass of dogs would be recovered from the dumping yard and postmortem would be performed. "We have identified the location where the gang dumped the dead dogs after giving poison. A post-mortem will be performed on Saturday," said Sajeev.
A councillor of Thrikkakara municipality also admitted that the dogs were killed due to the increasing complaints about the menace. "This is an act carried out in each local body. But no one will leak this to the public. The incident came to light after a youngster got the video of killing the dog," said the councillor on condition of anonymity.
However, Thrikkakara municipality chairperson Ajitha Thankappan refuted the allegation stating it was "politically motivated". "The municipality didn't issue any orders to kill the dogs. How can a municipality spend money on such activity?" she asked.
Ullas Thomas, SPCA Chairman, Ernakulam said stringent action would be taken against the culprits. "The police have already registered a case in this regard," said Ullas.
Meanwhile, the division bench of the High Court issued the order to the municipality to file an affidavit after the Amici Curiae handed over a copy of a video showing killing of street dogs by two persons and transportation of the same by a vehicle within the limits of the Thrikkakkara municipality. The inquiries made by the Amici Curiae with the Infopark police station revealed that the two persons have been arrested by the police.
The court asked senior advocate TA Shaji, the Director-General of Prosecution to inform the court about the developments in the investigation following the registration of the case. The court also directed the Station House Officer, Thrikkakkara police station, to record the statement of the persons apprehended in connection with the case in the presence of the Amici Curiae, forthwith.
The court will hear the case on August 2.