In yet another incident that has put humanity to shame, a 20-year old activist was allegedly assaulted on 1st April, 2019 by a group of irate residents in Rachakonda, Hyderabad. The girl has also alleged that she was assaulted and molested by the mob. Her only crime was that she fed stray dogs and protested the residents’ decision to remove the dogs from the area. What is even more shocking is that policemen were present at the time of this incident, but they chose not to interfere to save the girl. In a video that has now gone viral, a policeman could be seen recording the entire incident on his mobile phone, even as four men attack the girl.
The activist, Mahreen Syed is Rachakonda City head of Being The Real Human Foundation NGO (Founder : Utpal Khot) that is active in various domains such as animal rights, human rights, environmental issues and social advocacy. The NGO has already helped file an FIR against the alleged molesters, but it is being said that the police are favoring the residents. Animal rights activists have now contacted Rachakonda Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat and requested him to review the matter personally and take action against the attackers. On their part, the police said that they are carrying out an investigation and will take required action as per law.
Cases of assault on animal lovers are nothing new and it shows how the society has become insensitive to the needs of animals. Not many people know that there are various rules that provide protection to animals such as stray dogs. As long as people and police remain unaware, attacks on animals and animal lovers will continue. Here are some rules and court judgments that everyone needs to know.
Laws For Stray Dogs in India
- High Court passed an order asking the police to provide protection to dogs and dog feeders and has made it a PUNISHABLE OFFENCE IN CASE ANYONE RESTRICTS, PROHIBITS OR CAUSES INCONVENIENCE TO ANY PERSON FEEDING A STREET DOG OR RESORTS TO REMOVAL OR DISLOCATION OR KILLING A DOG.
- SECTION 503 of Indian Penal Code 1860, provides that intimidation is a criminal offence which is cognizable. ANYONE WHO THREATENS OR INTIMIDATES ANY PERSON TAKING CARE OF DOGS IS LIABLE FOR CRIMINAL INTIMIDATION UNDER SECTION 503 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE AND CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT A WARRANT.
- SECTION 506: IT IS A CRIME TO THREATEN, ABUSE OR HARASS NEIGHBOURS WHO FEED ANIMALS. I.P.C. Section 428 and 429 provides SEVERE PUNISHMENT (up to 5 years’ imprisonment) TO PEOPLE RESORTING TO DISLOCATION, ABDUCTION, AND ACTS OF CRUELTY towards community animals or pets.
- Delhi Police act 1968, sections 73 to 79, 99 gives special powers to police to take action when an animal offence has been committed.
- Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act makes all animal cruelty a criminal offence. Fines and imprisonment are both provided for. The Indian Penal Code has similar provisions.
- The Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001, enacted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, provide for sterilization and vaccination as a means of stabilizing/reducing stray dog populations and eliminating the risk of rabies; and prohibits relocation of stray dogs, i.e. throwing, or driving them out of one area, into another. An order passed by the Supreme Court of India in this regard, which prohibits removal, dislocation or killing of all dogs.
- Under Stray Dog Management Rules 2001, IT IS ILLEGAL FOR AN INDIVIDUAL, RWA or estate management to remove or relocate dogs. The dogs have to be sterilized and vaccinated and returned to the same area. Vaccinated and sterilized dogs cannot be removed by the municipality too.
- Ministry of Public Grievances notification and a similar notification by Animal Welfare Board of India to PROVIDE IMMUNITY TO ANIMAL FEEDERS AND RESTRICT and restrict government employees or bodies such as Resident Welfare Associations SOCIETIES FROM HARASSING PEOPLE WHO FEED OR HELP ANIMALS.
- The Supreme Court of India gave a similar stay order against removal culling or dislocation of a dog anywhere in India.
- Article 51-A (g) states – ” It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect & improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.” So the animal lover is protected under the Constitution.
- Article 19 of the Constitution of India, deals with right to freedom and in this freedom comes the right to profession, occupation, trade and business which means that if someone has taken the caring of animals as his occupation, it is legal and he has every right to carry on with his occupation.
- Article 21 of the Constitution of India states the right to personal life and liberty. If someone wants to feed and provide shelter to dogs, he is at liberty to do so. He has the same right to liberty that the law provides to every citizen of India.
Provision for compensation for dog bites
Most people hate dogs because they are afraid of being bitten. Treatment of dog bites is also expensive, which is another worry for the common man. However, risk of dog bite is manageable. Moreover, there is provision for compensation in case of injury or fatalities arising from dog attack.
- Death caused by dog bite: In case an individual dies due to dog bite, the state government provides compensation of up to Rs 2 lakh.
- Partial disability: If an individual loses a hand or leg or becomes partially handicapped due to dog bite, then the compensation amount is Rs 40,000.
- Severe injury: In case of severe injury, the amount of compensation will be decided by the state government.
Dogs have lived with humans since the dawn of civilization and it is quite immoral to treat them in a bad way. If you are reading this, we suggest you share this info on your social channels so that maximum number of people can be made aware of the laws that protect stray dogs. If dog haters are aware of these laws, then they will think twice before attacking dogs or animal lovers. Sometimes even police are not aware of these laws and judgments, which prevents delivery of justice.
We thank the Founder of Being The Real Human Foundation Utpal Khot and his entire team for taking up the cause of protecting the stray dogs and support them wholeheartedly in their endeavors. We hope justice will prevail and the attackers would get the punishment they deserve. We cannot turn a blind eye to such incidents and have to make concerted efforts to create a better society.