Allegedly, around 40 stray dogs were injected with poison by the panchayat officials in Ramavarappadu located in Andhra Pradesh. As per the witnesses who caught the panchayat officials red-handed, the officials, when confronted by the people, escaped from the spot. But before escaping, the officials said they were acting on the orders of higher authority. After the culprits escaped, the witnesses along with other people of the locality joined to search the area and found the carcasses of dogs in a van/rickshaw which was used by the officials along with used syringes. It is also said that when the people went to file a complaint against the culprits, the police officials initially refused to register it, but after the intervention of Maneka Gandhi’s office, the police officials registered the complaint.
This case highlights the barbarity with which dogs are treated, and the fact that the panchayat officials were involved in this crime shows how the state authorities have started showing total disregard towards the laws—which sets a dangerous precedent. Although the higher authorities, when questioned, said that the officials were there only to clear the carcasses of the dogs, and they were not ordered to poison them—the actions of the authorities when caught indicated otherwise. But what justification can they give for this heinous crime? For the past few years, there have been dog biting cases in southern parts of India, due to which they justify the killing of dogs—even when it is against the law.
But again, if we observe the dog biting cases that have occurred, we will find that the dog involved was a scavenger (here it refers to the dogs who survive on garbage), and those dogs become aggressive due to such habits and if we observe the stray dogs who are fed proper pet food and stay away from garbage, they are generally calm unless provoked by others. Another option for the state authorities is to set up dog shelters with the help of animal welfare organizations to accommodate the stray dogs—that are not sterilized. But again, there are possibilities that the authorities don’t have the required resources, hence, in law, there are provisions which allow the citizens to feed stray dogs even in housing societies, and if any society member objects to it—then the member can face actions as per the law.
The authorities could have taken these actions if they really wanted to solve the problem as per the law, but this action of killing stray dogs as a solution cannot be justified. Because if this action is justified, then every other person will commit a similar crime. In this instance, the victim were dogs, but in future crimes, the victims could be humans—where the culprit will find a justification, and if such a scenario takes place then there will be no law and order in this country! There are persisting examples such as mob-lynchings, here, too, the culprits try to justify their actions—but this doesn’t mean they should be legalized!
The main question is, from where do people get the confidence to commit such crimes? The answer is the weak animal protection laws—where the culprits do not get strict punishment—which gives them the confidence to commit such crimes again. Hence, to ensure that such crimes do not take place, strict animal protection laws must be introduced and implemented. Only time will tell when such laws will come in place—because if this is not done then such crimes will keep happening and make laws of this country a joke. I hope that the culprits who committed this crime are brought to justice.