Who says, animals don’t have emotions? They too can feel, emote, be happy, be sad…just that we need to *be human* enough understand their language 🙏
Supreme Court of India stands up for Animal Rights, bans cruel bull-taming sport ‘Jallikattu’
In a major step towards protecting animals from human cruelty, the Supreme Court on Wednesday 7th May 2014, banned the popular post-harvest Jallikattu (taming the bull) or bullfights in Tamil Nadu and bullock-cart racing in Maharashtra, Punjab and other states, saying they violated provisions of the 50-year-old Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Significantly, the court favoured constitutional status for rights of animals like citizens. It said, “Parliament, it is expected, would elevate rights of animals to that of constitutional rights, as done by many of the countries around the world, so as to protect their dignity and honour.”
A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and P C Ghose struck down as illegal the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009, and said, “Bulls cannot be used as performing animals, either for the Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the state of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and elsewhere in the country.”
Before banning Jallikattu and cart-racing, the bench extensively narrated behavioural patterns of the animal. “Bulls adopt flight or fight response when they are frightened or threatened and this instinctual response to a perceived threat is what is being exploited in Jallikattu or bullock-cart races,” it said.
“During Jallikattu, many animals are observed to engage in a flight response as they try to run away from the arena when they experience fear or pain, but cannot do this since the area is completely enclosed. Jallikattu demonstrates a link between actions of humans and the fear, distress and pain experienced by bulls,” it said.
“Studies indicate that rough and abusive handling of bulls compromise welfare and for increasing fear in bulls, often, they are pushed, hit, prodded, abused, causing mental as well as physical harm,” said Justice Radhakrishnan, who authored the judgment for the bench.
Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) through senior advocate Raj Panjwani, said even if Jallikattu was conducted as per the Tamil Nadu legislation, it would still violate provisions of PCA Act as the event involved causing pain and suffering to bulls, which was prohibited under Section 11(1)(a) of the central law.
AWBI said Jallikattu and bullock-cart races had no historical, cultural and religious significance and told the court that even if they had, it should not be permitted as it violated the PCA Act.
While declaring that the rights of bulls against cruelty was inviolable, the bench gave a general direction to the governments and AWBI “to take appropriate steps to see that the persons-in-charge or care of animals take reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of animals”.
This could put all pet owners, dairy farm owners and animal keepers on notice against causing cruelty to them. However, the court did not deal with a related issue – whether bullock-carts, which are rural India’s sole transportation medium both for men and material, were included in this general direction.
The court also gave the following directions:
- AWBI and governments are directed to take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals, since their rights have been statutorily protected under Section 3 and 11 of the PCA Act.
- AWBI to ensure that provisions of Section 11(1) of the PCA Act is scrupulously followed, meaning thereby that the person-in-charge or care of animals shall not incite any animal to fight against a human being or another animal
- If the court’s directions are not complied with scrupulously, it would be the duty of the government and AWBI to bring to book the violator.
Credits: Above News Report has been taken from Times of India and is penned by TOI Correspondent Dhananjay Mahapatra
A school presentation, a Teacher, Delhi Fire Service and a rescued Pigeon
Life is a puzzle which gets deciphered when we look back and connect the dots. When I was in school, I had yearned for people to come over and talk to us about animals and environment but no one did, I tried to do it myself-telling my fellow classmates about not using polybags to dump kitchen waste as it kills a cow and clogs our drains, but no one listened….probably I didn’t communicate the right way or perhaps that was because our teachers didn’t reinforce what I said or probably because no one had the time to think about ‘going green’ as that buzzword wasn’t around at that time, neither was ‘Environment’ a career option as my School counsellor was clueless when I went and asked her about it.
Nevertheless growing up, I had always harboured deep within me a dream and a desire to go back to my school and speak to students and teachers therein on subjects pertaining to animals and environment because this is all I had always wanted to do and this is one of the reasons ‘Jaagruti’ was born…
And who says, dreams don’t come true, they do take time but I believe they do come true…and sometime back I had the opportunity to go back to my school and address the students in there not once but twice on subjects close to my heart, once on ‘Waste Management’ and the second time around I had the opportunity to address an Eco-Club seminar which was attended to by eco-club teachers from about 15 more schools and a group of Eco-club students from Classes 9-12. The focus of this interaction with teachers and students was to apprise them of the little things they can share with their colleagues/students/classmates on what all we as ‘individuals’ can do in our daily lives to help street animals and care for the environment.
One of the many things I had touched upon in this interaction was how many birds-eagles/kites, crows, mynahs and pigeons often become victims of kite strings-the glass manjhas/threads used by people to fly their kites high into the sky.
Though the kite flying games end, these kite strings often end up tearing through many a birds wings, either while they navigate through the open skies or when later on when these birds perch on the tree branches-their tiny claws/legs and wings remain susceptible to be trapped in the strings left wound around tree branches forever…
Someone in the audience that day in my former school was listening carefully to what I was saying and that was Ms. Rajbir Kaur, a teacher from a neighbouring school who was faced with a similar situation a few weeks later and that is when she called us over on the ‘Jaagruti’ helpline.
As Ms. Kaur’s family was attending to guests, the little kids in the family spotted a pigeon hung upside down from the branch of a Eucalyptus tree, the kids tried and tried along with their father of ways to get the pigeon down, but the tree was so far away from any houses’ balcony and the branches were too high, that it was not within reachable distance from the common ladders and poles we all have in our homes and they were now feeling helpless.
Ms. Kaur called us over, and after listening to the story thus far, we just gave her one calm advice to follow-to call the Delhi Fire Service on 101 and request them to send over their Fire Brigade as their long ladder will help. The Delhi Fire Service staff has time and again helped people help birds stuck in such situations and needless to say when Ms. Singh called 101, they were prompt in sending their Fire Brigade over….just that there was one thing she missed telling them…which is what height the pigeon was stuck on and thus the Fire Brigade that came didn’t have a ladder that long to reach the pigeon. And it was then that we all had to sincerely request the Delhi Fire Service staff to call for the Fire Brigade with a longer ladder and they agreed after initial hesitation. Their hesitation was that since this was a festival day and there could be fire emergencies in the city, how could they be here saving a bird…we assured them that if there is any such emergency; we will let them go and may be God will be kind enough to spare Delhi of any fire disasters and then they agreed :)
The Delhi Fire Service then called upon their most prized possession ‘The Bronto Skylift’, a new entrant into their fleet of Fire Brigades and then began the story of a heroic rescue of nothing but a pigeon who was hanging upside down and still uptil then making everyone wonder whether it was even alive!
But then, as soon as the Bronto Skylift’s ladder reached near that branch, the Pigeon started fluttering its wings in hope and excitement as if to convey that it was well alive and kicking!
The Delhi Fire Service staff got a heroic applause as they brought the pigeon safely down and then taking it to Ms. Kaur’s residence even helped cut the kite string which was wound around its wing, in such a neat manner that there was no injury caused to the pigeon, now named ‘Hero’ by Ms. Kaur’s husband-Mr. Singh. Since it is not advisable to release birds like Pigeons at night time, Mr. Singh’s family gave ‘Hero’ a nice place to rest, grains and water to feed on and even put on their water cooler (while switching the fan off) so that ‘Hero’ has a restful sleep.
Next morning, we went and took the pigeon for further examination to Abhinav at Fauna Police and then the next day since the pigeon was all good and healthy, Mr. Singh got him back on his way back from work and released it onto his balcony.
And then, the anticlimax happened, ‘Hero’ actually ended up being a ‘Heroine’, which is that Pigeon wasn’t a male but rather a female pigeon who then chose to use an abandoned nest atop an almirah placed in Mr. Singh’s balcony to lay her eggs :)
The story of Heroine’s rescue and release has been delightfully documented in the video shared by Mr. Singh with us below. Have a look!
Mr. Singh had this to say, “By saving this bird’s life, the Delhi Fire Service has shown that they respect and value all life (humans and animals) and that is what all of us need to learn and imbibe”.
Then onwards Mr. Singh’s family has also taken the initiative of getting all of their colony’s street dogs vaccinated against Rabies, which were uptil then only being fed by the area residents, but they took on additional responsibility and expense to make sure that these dogs are now vaccinated as well.
It is said that doing one good deed prompts you to do the next one and thus, the spirit of compassion continues to flow!
Faith – the two legged dog
The below story is kind courtesy and copyright of : Daily Good.
We are sharing it here because it meets one of the objectives behind the intent of ‘Jaagruti’ which is – spreading respect and compassion towards members of the canine family.
Two-Legged Dog to Inspire British Troops Wounded in Afghanistan
BY MARC HERTZ | WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2010 5:45 AM ET
A dog named Faith inspires others simply by being able to walk with just her two hind legs.
There are some things you have to see to believe, and Faith is one of those. She’s a labrador-chow mix born without one front leg and another that was severely deformed, only to be removed when Faith was seven months old due to atrophy. What’s truly amazing about Faith is that, despite having only her two hind legs, she can still walk on them, as you can see in the video below.
Faith is something of a celebrity, having appeared on Oprah a few years ago, and according to The Sun, she’s actually an honorary sergeant. The US Army gave her that title because she’s helped disabled veterans trying to overcome injuries they sustained in war zones, even donning a military jacket when she visits bases or hospitals. As her owner, Jude Stringfellow, was quoted, “Faith seems to inspire these young men. It’s very emotional watching them respond to her. She shows what can be achieved against great odds.”
Now, she’s planning to go international. Stringfellow wants to bring Faith to the UK, so she can bring her own brand of inspiration to those troops wounded in Afghanistan. Before she can do so, though, quarantine rules will have to be met. For the sake of those wounded soldiers, let’s hope they have the chance to see Faith “marching” their way.
Rabies and Street dog population control in India in 2010: Problems and Solutions
By Dr. Ilona Otter, DVM, Clinical Director of WVS ITC (Worldwide Veterinary Service India Training Center)
Dr. Ilona is also the Honorary Veterinary Consultant of Niligiri based Animal Welfare Organisation called IPAN- India Project on Animals and Nature.
In the article below Dr.Ilona pens down a brief summary about rabies and stray dogs in India to answer some questions and matters that are brought up in various discussion forums. Dr. Ilona hopes that this information will help those who are struggling with the facts and myths prevailing around the topic.
Rabies kills more than 55 000 people in the world every year (WHO website). India counts at least for approximately 20000 of the number of human deaths (WHO SEA report 2009). These are very sad statistics of a disease that is 100% preventable by vaccination.
The main obstacle in preventing canine and human rabies in India is the lack of sustainable centralized effort and the fact that rabies by law is not a notifiable disease.
Canine rabies control is also often only associated with voluntary animal welfare organizations or groups even though it is a matter of public health and should therefore receive high priority in the public veterinary services and also in human health care sector, being the most cost-effective way to reduce human rabies cases.
The AWOs role in rabies control is, however, very much needed. Especially because often they only have the necessary infrastructure and staff to carry out mass rabies vaccinations on the field and to educate public of the importance of regular rabies vaccinations for their dogs. However, a greater understanding among AWOS of the need of effective canine and human rabies control by massive and sustainable mass vaccination campaigns for the sake of animal welfare is required. The cruelty and ignorance that many stray dogs face has often its roots in the fear that people have for rabies. We can’t expect the majority of general public to love dogs as long as there is such a high risk for rabies.
2. Options for prevention of human rabies
Rabies causes a horrible death and once the symptoms start there is no cure. However, there are three ways to prevent rabies in humans; by preventing the transmission of the rabies virus within the host species and by treating all people that have been bitten by dogs of unknown vaccination status or by vaccinating people with pre-exposure rabies vaccines. Prevention of canine rabies by dog vaccination and the post-exposure treatment are discussed further in this text. Public education is a crucial component of both approaches.
a. Preventing canine rabies:
Modern vaccines to prevent rabies are all derived from tissue-cultures. The sheep-brain culture method is no longer in use. Reputed international medical companies (e.g. Pfizer and Intervet) as well as Indian immunologicals produces reliable rabies vaccines that provide protective antibody titres when stored and administered properly. One dose of rabies vaccine for dogs in India costs Rs. 25. The manufacturers recommend a booster vaccination every 1-3 years depending on the rabies situation in the area. To achieve herd immunity and sufficient vaccination coverage to prevent transmission of rabies virus, 70% of the dog population has to be vaccinated. It has been shown that even in developing countries where dogs commonly roam free, most of them are accessible to parenteral vaccinations when vaccination camps are planned and arranged properly (Kaare et al., 2007). Oral rabies vaccine baits can be used in areas where it is difficult to achieve an adequate vaccination coverage by injectable vaccines only, especially when the wildlife reservoir is important (Matouch et al., 2007). Oral rabies vaccines have been used for decades in many European countries to prevent rabies transmission from wild carnivores like foxes and raccoon dogs.
b. Treatment of humans by post-exposure vaccination
According to some estimates, approximately 500 000 people in India receive every year the post-exposure vaccination treatment that consists of 5 vaccine doses and costs Rs. 1500 (excluding the cost of general wound care, hospitalization and time away from work). According to M.K.Sudarshan’s survey (2007) the full cost of post-exposure treatment of humans that have been bitten in India is $25million.
Unfortunately, many indigenous treatments still prevail among rural communities and not even everyone knows to wash their wounds after being bitten. Poverty, lack of understanding of the need to start the vaccinations on the very same day and also lack of availability in the rabies anti-serum which is needed in the treatment of the most severe bites all contribute to the sad statistics of human rabies in India (Sudarshan, M.K., 2007).
While it is common to hear the parties that are against dogs to defend their standpoint by saying that when people suffer money should not be spent on dogs, it is worth noting that at least 30 million dogs in India could be vaccinated against rabies every year with the amount of money that is spent on the post-exposure vaccinations of humans. The estimated stray dog population in India is 8-20 million. The fact that major savings in the human medical sector are likely to occur when mass vaccinations of dogs start effectively taking place has been noted by several published reports (Cleaveland, et al., 2003; Lembo et al., 2010).
c. Experiences from the world
The often quoted claim that most dogs in Asia or Africa are stray dogs and not accessible to vaccination has been proven wrong as recently reviewed by Lembo. WHO-commisioned study of Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Ecuador concluded that “dogs which are not catchable by at least one person are rare and represent generally less than 15% of the dog population” (WHO, 1988). The same figure in India is not known but likely to be much higher. However, trained dog-catchers are able to catch dogs on the roads by catching nets and in more difficult terrains trap-cages can be used for catching.
Central-point vaccination programs that are announced before hand or door-to door vaccination teams have been able to reach to 80% of the dogs with a low as low as US$2/dog cost, as documented by several studies (Kaare et al., in 2007; Cleaveland et. al in 2003). In Nepal, 86-97% of dogs were accessible to parenteral (injectable) vaccination (Bogel, 1990).
In Mexico, human rabies cases declined to zero within ten years since mass vaccination of dogs started (Lucas et al., 2008).
In India, Jaipur is an example of a city where rabies control through mass vaccination and neutering of dogs has resulted in eradication of human rabies (Reece and Chawla, 2006).
In developed countries the low numbers of rabies cases are not the result of mass killing of dogs nor of spending millions in public medical care and post-exposure vaccinations. The secret for better than India rabies situations lies in the fact that rabies is a notifiable disease by law; dog vaccination to cover most of the dog population is a well-established practice, border control requires traveling dogs to be regularly vaccinated with a certificate of sufficient rabies antibody titre in the blood (Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003) , wild rabies from foxes and raccoon dogs is controlled by distributing oral vaccine baits in the forests and the habitat where garbage is not let in the open doesn’t support reproducing stray dog population.
3. What if ? – Elimination of dogs?
Elimination of absolutely all dogs, both owned and ownerless, both pedigree breed and mixed breed or country dogs, in India by killing them or banning them or by taking them to shelters is not possible. As long as there are enough susceptible individuals of the host species, virus transmission will continue. As long as there are free-roaming dogs somewhere, they will take the place of those that were removed.
a. Ecology and habitat matters
The poor garbage disposal system all over the country and the presence of chicken stalls and small butcher shops in and around the city markets and in the suburban surroundings means that there is edible waste for animals to feed and live on. If absolutely all dogs are eliminated by any method, it is likely that their place in the feast is taken over by another species, e.g. rats, monkeys, cats or wild pigs. All of them will carry their own risks for public health not to mention the harm that is caused if all that waste is just let to rotten below our windows.
Thieves are likely to become braver if a community or a colony does not have any watchdogs to guard the people and their property.
A zero-garbage city or even better the Zero-Garbage-India, would be an excellent benefit for the citizens in many ways, including the fact that stray/feral animal numbers would go dramatically down if there was nothing for them to eat on the roads and backyards. This is a challenge that the solid waste management department of every district in India should be made to take really seriously, by centralized incentive/penalty system if so required for compliance.
An observational report from the Wellington Cantonment, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, by the Health Superintendant in 2010, states that since they started door-to-door collection of garbage in the civilian area of the Cantonment the dog population that used be very big has drastically declined.
b. Stray dogs in developed countries
Common policy in many western / developed countries is to take in all stray animals in shelters where they are neutered, vaccinated and then rehomed. Unlike in India, stray dogs in those countries are often actually strays, meaning they are run-away pets or abandoned pet dogs that would not survive on the roads on their own because there are no open garbage bins nor butcher shop backyards. As the numbers are limited, those animals can be taken in to rehoming shelters where they are neutered, vaccinated and rehomed to responsible owners.
Streets without stray dog problem in Singapore, Stockholm, San Francisco or Sydney are not the result of indiscriminate killing of thousands or millions of dogs but a fact that the problem has never risen to the extent because of different sanitary and ecological conditions, dog licensing programs, public education for responsible ownership and well-developed rehoming shelters.
4. Animal Birth Control program (ABC-program)
The objective of the ABC program is to reduce the population of dogs in a given area. To be effective in that, the work has to be intensive – 70% of the dogs should be neutered during one breeding cycle, that is during six months. This is possible but requires strategic planning and an experienced veterinary surgeon with trained assistants who can perform the operations without complications.
Dogs are territorial animals and therefore a small group of sterilized and vaccinated dogs protect and defend the community they live in from any outside dogs wandering in search for mate or new territory.
a. Role of ABC in rabies control
Having a dog neutered doesn’t prevent it from getting infected with rabies. Usually all the ABC programs include rabies vaccination to the operated dogs. However, the main benefit of the ABC program in rabies control is in the overall reduction of population growth. By doing ABC we aim to stabilize the dog population to a level where sufficient rabies vaccination coverage can be maintained by annual vaccination days. Success of ABC program in controlling the stray dog population has been demonstrated scientifically in India (Totton et al, 2010; Reece and Chawla, 2006).
However, whenever the pressure to prevent rabies is very bad, an effective mass vaccination campaign at first is the preferred option, followed immediately by intensive animal birth control program to maintain the vaccination coverage sufficient.
b. Population dynamics
Whenever and wherever ABC-program is judged not to work it is either that it has not even been implemented on that particular area or that it has not been implemented effectively enough. If only 200 dogs are operated from a population of 10 000 with great deal of media attention as the program starts, the public is likely to start questioning the sensibility of the program when they observe no results after a year. However, if two full-time teams are employed to work for six months they can achieve the required level of 7000-8000 neutered and vaccinated dogs and the impact is clear. Such a high volume campaign should easily receive media attention and have an impact in the public awareness meaning that people are likely to start bringing their pet dogs also for vaccination & for neutering, further improving the success of the program as less unwanted pet dog puppies will end up on the roads.
About the Worldwide Veterinary Service India Training Center
WVS India training center located in Ooty, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, is going to provide training for animal charities in arranging effective rabies control campaigns. The program consists of three modules that are to be attended by different people of the charity; managers, veterinarians and assistants/dog-catchers. While we initially target charities as participants, the courses will be open also for municipalities and corporations who want to train their staff to significantly reduce rabies in their areas for the benefit of the public.
The training center, known as the ITC, has an operation theatre for five surgeons to operate at a time, custom-made kennels to hold the dogs and several classrooms as well as dining and accommodation for 30 people.
Visiting foreign volunteer teachers as well as the experienced WVS ITC staff conduct the courses and all participating charities will be supported by advice, volunteers and materials to carry on the rabies control work in their areas after the courses. Participation is free of cost but a participating charity/municipality/corporation has to commit in implementing the rabies campaign as planned for that specific area during the course immediately after the training.
The opening ceremony of ITC is on the 28th September, the world rabies day. The center will be inaugurated by the Chairman of Animal Welfare Board of India, Dr. R.M. Kharb. While personal invitations will be send to the WVS associated charities and other key people in this field in India, we warmly welcome all interested people to join us for the ceremony.
More information at
Bogel K., Joshi DD (1990) Accessibility of dog populations for rabies control in Kathmandu valley, Nepal. Bull World Health Organization 68:611-617
Cleaveland, S., Kaare, M., Tiringa, P., Mlengeya, T., Barrat, J. (2003) A dog rabies vaccination campaign in rural Africa: impact on the incidence of dog rabies and human dog-bite injuries, Vaccine 21; 1965-1973
Lembo T, Hampson K, Kaare MT, Ernest E, Knobel D, et al. (2010) The Feasibility of Canine Rabies Elimination in Africa: Dispelling Doubts with Data. PLoS
Negl Trop Dis 4(2): e626. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000626
Lucas CH, Pino FV, Baer G, Morales PK, Cedillo VG, Blanco MA, Avila MH (2008) Rabies control in Mexico, Dev Biol (Basel).;131:167-75.
Matouch O, Vitasek J, Semerad Z, Malena M.(2007) Rabies-free status of the Czech Republic after 15 years of oral vaccination. Rev Sci Tech. Dec;26(3):577-84.
Regulation, 2003 Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the animal health requirements applicable to the non-commercial movement of pet animals and amending Council Directive 92/65/EEC.
Sudarshan MK. Assessing burden of rabies in India. WHO sponsored national multi-centric rabies survey ( 2004). Assoc Prev Control Rabies India J 2004;6:44-5.
Reece, J.F., and Chawla S.K.(2006) Control of rabies in Jaipur, India, by the sterilisation and vaccination of neighbourhood dogs. VetRec. 16: 159 (12):379-83
Totton, S.C., et al., Stray dog population demographics in Jodhpur, India following a population control/rabies vaccination program. PREVET (2010), doi:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2010.07.009
WHO report; Rabies in the South-East Asia region, 2009
WHO website www.who.org accessed in August 2010
WHO (1988) Report of a WHO consultation on a dog ecology studies related to rabies control. Geneva: Word Health Organization (WHO/Rab.Res/88.25)
How to act when your society RWA puts a bar on letting your pet dog use the building lift?
On the afternoon of 10th August 2010, the Jaagruti helpline received a call from Mrs. Usha Gulati in Faridabad who informed that the residents welfare association of the colony in which they stay had objected to them taking their Pet dog Pixie up and down the building lift from their 5th floor flat. Ms. Gulati and her family was willing to take Pixie down (for his walks) using the stairs but given his age (Pixie is 10+ years old) and the fact that they live on the 5th Floor, the Gulati family was not willing to cow down to the demands and orders of the RWA in any way and were even willing to take this matter to court should the RWA remain adamant in its stance on this subject.
Most of the times the arguments that RWA office bearers give to pet owners while objecting them to using the building lift with their pets- ‘the pets odour is harmful for human health’, ‘pets are dirty’, ‘pets make the lift dirty’, ‘pets can pounce or growl or attack other people in the lift’ and the list goes on as per the whims and fancies of the RWA representatives.
Ms. Gulati mentioned to us that she has a copy of a news clipping that came out in Times of India newspaper in December 2008 in which a Mumbai resident had approached a consumer court for his pet dog Shimu. Further to this Ms Gulati wanted to know from us if there was any previous judgment in this regard that they could use to help Pixie. Below is presented a step-by-step guide on how to tackle such a problem which, as we learnt is a common problem faced by many people living with their pets in buildings with lifts face across many cities in India. The key to coming out victors in such a situation is to have cent percent commitment towards your pet and to be willing to stand up for your pet’s rights, for pets are family!
Through the power of the internet, we enquired upon this ‘Pets being denied lift access’ subject from people across the animal welfare fraternity across India, the following facts came to light and we are sharing this information in our effort to inspire all those who face similar problems to act accordingly when faced with such situations. As for what transpired in the story of Pixie, read this till the end:
The only preceeding judgement in such a case was when Mr. Ajay Marathe, a resident of Mumbai’s Vashi Colony approached the Consumer Court (on 26th September, 2008) when his colony’s association passed a resolution disallowing them to use the building lift with their pet dog ‘Shimu’, who was then 11 years old who was suffering from osteo-arthritis (pain in the bones and joints)
The following trail of news stories on Shimu’s case illustrate the trail of events on this subject as well.
No entry for pets in lifts, Vashi housing society tells residentsIndian ExpressN Ganesh Fri Sep 12 2008Mumbai, September 11 : Says odour may be harmful to health; SPCA takes up issueLife for 11-year-old Peter-Pan alias Shimu, a Labrador Retriever, has become tougher than ever. Shimu stays with his owners, Ajay and Nandini Marathe, on the fifth floor of New Sarvodaya Co-operative Housing Society, at Sector 4 in Vashi. Shimu has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, an ailment in which the patient suffers from severe joint pain. However, Shimu will now have to use the staircase instead of the lift, as a resolution passed by the general body of the society bars pets from using the building elevator.
On August 3, 2008, the general body resolved to prevent use of lifts by residents accompanied by their pets. According to a notice issued to Marathe and the general body resolution, the society fears that the odour of the pets which is left behind in the lifts, can be hazardous to the life and health of the building residents. In the month of May 2008, the society sought numerous documents certifying the fitness levels of the dog. Marathe, who has a licence for the dog, produced a certificate issued by the Bombay Veterinary College that dog is licenced, vaccinated, healthy and does not suffer from any infectious or contagious disease. The Bombay Veterinary College certificate also adds that since the dog is aged and suffering from osteoarthritis, it should be allowed to use the lift, as climbing the stairs would be a painful task.
Marathe tried to find a way out by using air fresheners after the use of lift by the pet dog. However, the society officer tersely told Marathe that use of air fresheners was not recommended.
After a complaint of Marathe, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has taken up the issue. S B Kadam, assistant secretary, SPCA said, “SPCA inspectors have paid a visit to the society and asked the office bearers to be practical and permit use of lift for the pet dog concerned. We will be hearing from them soon.”
Marathe said, “I paid the watchman from the neighouring building to carry the dog up and down the building thrice a day so that he could answer nature’s call. This arrangement worked fine for a few days, however he stopped coming after being warned by society office bearers.”
Meanwhile, Marathe has temporarily shifted Shimu to his in-laws place at Pen in Raigad district. Chairman of the housing society Arvind Palwankar said, “It is a very old sick dog with a bad odour. We only prevented Marathe from using the lift. Moreover, Marathe is a nuisance as he relentlessly complains against the society to the authorities about all things trivial.”
What the law says
Advocate Rahul Thakur who is associated with In Defense of Animals (IDA) said that the society resolution violates section 11 (3) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960. It is also against article 51 A (g) of the Indian Constitution according to which it is the duty of every citizen to have compassion for animals, living creatures and improve the natural environment. Thakur said, “The society resolution is illegal as it is unconstitutional.”
Please note the underlined portion in the last paragraph of the above story.
Luckily for Shimu, who is now in good heavens, the Consumer Court upheld the society’s resolution and passed the judgement in his favour and also asked the Association to pay Mr. Ajay Marathe Rs.5000/- in lieu of the damages and the expenses incurred by him on this court case.
Please read through the following news stories:
Peter Pan can use apartment lift now
N Ganesh Dec 17, 2008
Mumbai This 11-year-old dog was barred from using lift by the housing society in Navi Mumbai
The consumer forum came to the rescue of a 11-year-old dog, Peter Pan alias Shimu, who was not allowed to use the apartment lift by the office bearers of a housing society in Navi Mumbai. Shimu, a pet belonging to Ajay and Nandini Marathe, residing on the fifth floor of New Sarvodaya co-operative housing society was barred from using the society lift. Shimu had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis — an ailment that causes acute pain in the joints.
In its order dated December 11, 2008 the Thane District Additional Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ruled that the housing society’s move to prevent pets from using the apartment lift without any valid reasons amounted to deficiency in service to the members as per section 2 (1) (g) of the Consumers Protection Act.
The Marathes were asked to produce documents certifying the illness of the dog. However, despite producing the required certificates and reports, the general body of the housing society in August 2008 resolved to ban pet animals from using apartment lifts.
The housing society contended before the forum that the dog was not a consumer of the housing society and hence the forum cannot hold the society liable. The consumer court however said in its order: “The issue of ‘dog’ being or not being the consumer of the society is not valid, instead the valid issue should be whether the complainant is consumer of the housing society or not.”
Since the membership of the Marathes to the housing society was not disputed, the consumer court said: “The dog has valid license and has been certified by a veterinary doctor of having no contagious and infectious disease. It has received all its vaccines. The doctor has also recommended the use of lifts owing to its condition.”
The housing society contended that the use of lifts by pets threatened the safety of the residents. However the Consumer court held that the housing society’s decision to ban pets from using lifts was without any valid reasons and hence amounted to deficiency in service. The court has ordered the housing society to pay Rs 3000 as damages and Rs 2000 as legal expenses to the Marathes.
Consumer court upholds dog’s right to use lift
18th December, 2008, Published in: The Times of India
Mumbai: An 11-year-old Labrador has emerged a champion of dog rights by not only winning for himself the right to travel in the elevator of his apartment complex in a Mumbai suburb but getting his master a Rs 5,000 compensation from the apartment’s anti-pet managing committee.
The Thane District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum passed an order, defending Shimu aka Peter Pan’s right to use the left and directed the society to compensate the owner for the harassment he faced. The dog’s owner, Ajay Marathe (52), a fifth floor resident of New Sarvoday Cooperative Society at Vashi, told TOI on Wednesday: This is a very good judgement given in our favour in real time. In fact, a lot of pet owners face the same problem in Mumbai; this order can be an important reference point to help them use their society lifts.
Marathe added that the 35-kg Shimu suffered from pain in the joints and couldn’t use the stairway. The society this May passed a resolution, saying pets like cats and dogs could not be allowed in the lift as their body odour could be injurious to health and life, which I found to be ridiculous, he said.
Marathe first went to the cops, but failing to get a sympathetic response from them, he lodged a case in the Thane consumer court. The consumer court has given this judgement in less than three months. The Rs 5,000 compensation for my pet is also welcome as I had to temporarily shift Shimu to my in laws house in Pen, which caused some discomfort to him, he said.
To read the full judgement given by the Consumer Court on this case in favour of Shimu the dog, please click here
Since Shimu passed away soon after this judgement was announced, Mr. Marathe donated the Rs.5000/- compensation he received to the animal welfare charity named PAWS which used this contribution to publish brochures on the ‘Tree Protection Act’, which carried Shimu’s name on it as a mark of honour to his spirit.
Now, coming back to Pixie’s case in Fraidabad, here is what happened-
Deriving inspiration from Mr. Marathe’s stance on getting justice for Shimu, Ms. Usha Gulati’s familytook the press clipping of Shimu’s news (which had come out in TOI in December 2008) and approached the Local Police with the copy of the same and lodged a complaint against the RWA…the cops then called and came over to meet the RWA representatives and following all of this, an amicable solution was reached upon in which it was agreed that the Gulati family would be allowed to bring their pet dog Pixie down the stairs for his walk and after he has relieved himself and there is apparently nothing in his stomach to ‘dirty’ the lift with, he can take the lift upstairs to his fifth floor house along with his owner.
So, next time you face such an issue, consider using all of this information above and stand up to seek justice for your animal friends. Trust us, its all worth the effort and a way to (try to) pay back for all the love that your pet animal has showered upon you unconditionally.
However, we would like to also suggest to you that as always prevention is better than cure so please be mindful of a few other things a ‘responsible’ pet owner can follow while using the lift with their pet, to avoid inconvenience to the fellow lift users:
1. Make sure that your pet dog/cat is vaccinated to avoid any health related arguments from fellow building residents.
2. Keep your pet animal on a leash.
3. If your pet is aggressive and has a tendency to bite strangers, then it would be better to put a muzzle around the pet’s mouth while you move your pet in the lift. You can remove the muzzle once your pet is out of the lift.
4. Try using the lift when no one is in there, alternatively avoid using the lift when someone (you know) having a canine/feline-phobia (i.e someone who is well-known to be scared of dogs/cats) is already travelling in the lift.
5. Make sure that your pet doesn’t pee or defecate in there, so avoid taking young untrained pups in the lift as else you would most likely end up creating a lot more disgruntled neighbours or should we say enemies!
6. Take care of the health and hygiene of your pet dog/animal, give it a nice bath regularly so that it doesn’t emanate any sort of stinking odour in a public place like a lift, which may else be a cause of inconvenience for the fellow residents of your building.
* Credits: We deeply thank AWBI’s lawyer Anjali Sharma, PAWS founder trustee Nilesh Bhanage and Vishruti Aggarwal for sharing their experiences, the video link and the consumer court judgement with us.
The Story of Stuff
From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view.
The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
The Story of Bottled Water
See the movie below
For more on the myths and reality of Bottled Water, please click here
GoD and DoG!
The above photograph was clicked and contributed to us by Kris Kumar on 5th July, 2010.
It was clicked at PVR Anupam-Saket, a multiplex in Delhi. In this small temple beneath a tree behind the multiplex where these two resident dogs with collars around their necks were sleeping peacefully, demonstrative of the relationship between GoD and DoG…
For reporting animal cruelty cases: How to approach the police for help?
What comprises Animal Cruelty?
Contacting the Police on the Phone:
In an emergency situation telephone your local police station or dial 100 (Central Police Control Room) Get your “Ticket number” if you have dialled 100. Get the name and designation of the police personnel if you have called your local police station. Note the date and time on both occasions. If you wish to remain anonymous you do not need to reveal your identity.
At the Police Station:
i) Approach the police (above the rank of constable) politely and briefly explain the situation.
ii) Request them to take action against the offender.
iii) If they state it is not their job to protect animals as there are far too many human problems, politely enlighten them about their role in the PCA Act, 1960 (quote the relevant sections). If in Delhi, do tell them about the Delhi Police Act, 1978 Chapter IX entitled “the Prevention of Cruelty to animal”.
iv) Refer to http://awbi.org/awbi-pdf/apl.pdf for a compendium/factsheet of Animal Protection laws for the guidance of Police, NGOs, Animal Welfare Activists and Officers.
v) Insist on their involvement and offer your help.
vi) Inform them that the injured or distressed animal shelter and not left at the police station. This will reassure them.
vii) File an FIR if necessary.
viii) Do the necessary follow up.
ix) Do praise him/her after his involvement, no matter how small.
HOW TO FILE AN F.I.R. (FIRST INFORMATION REPORT):
• FIRs are filed at your local police station when you wish to put down in record an incident which you wish to bring to the notice of your local police and at the same time seek their help in solving it. (eg. loss of wallet, train ticket, incident, or any other loss).
• Make out a detailed description of the lost animal/incident with a photograph/s (or any cruelty complaint). Address it: to the SHO (Station House Officer), of your area.
• To file an FIR, write the facts on a plain piece of paper which you yourself may prepare in duplicate, with the date, your name and address, details of the complaint and the people involved, if any.
• The officer on duty at the police station is responsible for making all the necessary entries.
• The copy of the FIR should be duly signed, stamped and dated (note the time as well) by the police station which you should keep safely.
• This is applicable not only to lost animals, but to any animal you have found (which might be lost), cruelty to animals, illegal activities with regard to animals eg. trade in wildlife-bird sellers, snake charmers, turtle traders; illegal slaughtering of animals and illegal slaughter houses; bird sellers; cruelty to animals in zoos; circuses, pets/petshops etc.
• The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 under section 11 covers a large number of cruelties and offences on the basis of which you could file FIRs.
• Insist on filing an FIR. It is your right. It is important to note that the police usually discourage the complainant from registering a FIR in cases which are not so clear. This is because once the FIR is filed, it becomes the responsibility of the police to ensure a conviction.
• Do not lose the stamped copy (by the officers on duty) of the FIR and keep enquiring about the progress. This copy is the proof that the Police have received the information.
• Please don’t forget about the well-being of the animals, make sure that you also contact an Animal Welfare Organization/activists to ensure that they follow up on the health status, rehabilitation/release of the animals in case custody.
Please share with us your experiences while dealing with the Police /lodging an F.I.R on animal cases, practical learnings end up being different than what we write here, so please be candid in your sharing for it may help someone at a later date when stuck in a similar situation. Thanks-Vasudha
Intelligent Animals: Meet the thirsty cow operating a hand pump
Each one of us would have heard the story of the thirsty crow who brings pebbles in his beak and throws them in a pot to raise the level of water in there so that he can sip it and quench his thirst…
Now, in this real life story, we meet a thirsty cow on a Delhi road.
Below is an amazing account of Rishi Dev’s encounter with a thirsty cow operating a hand pump to quench her thirst on the hot summer afternoon of 20th June, 2010
Animals continue to amaze me with the level of intelligence they possess which is beyond our comprehension. Another example of it was displayed to me today when I was just driving through a village. It was hot as ever and I saw a cow trying to drink water from a handpump on the village road. First I thought she was trying to lick away water which was dropping from the pump. So I stopped to see what was going on.
To my amazement, she was operating the hand-pump with her horns and then drinking water at the same time. She was using her head to push down the lever and when water flowed through the spout, she drank that water and kept repeating the exercise. I shot a small video before doing anything. It can be viewed below :
After that I just walked over to her and stood there, very near to the pump. Then she stopped drinking and for a second the people watching thought that she would attack me. But to their amazement she looked straight into me eyes questioning me not to stand there like a fool and use my limbs to operate the pump so she can drink. That one moment between us was unspoken and as if she had an unwarranted right over me, that I was bound by some universal love to help her. It was so obvious for her that there was not an iota of hesitation or doubt that she had any other intention. She hadnt asked me, but was teling me to operate that pump, NOW!
So I started operating the pump.
She must have drunk at least 50-100 lts of water as I stood there for real 20 minutes operating the pump while she was drinking the water, non stop. When she was done she looked at me in satiation and contentment as if asking me to stop. First she closed her eyes for 15 seconds catching her breath. Then she looked at me straight and flipped her delicate ears with an expression as if showering her divine motherly love upon me. I really felt I was standing next to a mother and not an animal. She had so much love in her eyes that I felt I had actually drunk all that water on this hot afternoon and not her.
We both went our ways without greeting each other, but only sharing some short but real moments of love.
Even though I was a bit amazed by her intelligence but she was least touched or surprised by my involvement as if telling me & reminding me yet again that it was nothing else but “obvious” that all beings had equal right to water, food and shelter and it was our obvious duty to help each other with the same. Nothing great !
गर्मियां बहुत बड़ गईं है जनाब, इसलिए इन प्यासे पशु-पक्षियों की तरफ थोड़ी सहानुभूति दिखाओ,
घर के बाहर एक साफ़ बर्तन में सुबह शाम पानी रखकर इनकी प्यास भुजाओ और पुण्य कमाओ
Alien Attack! – Alien invasion poses threat to biodiversity cover (From Livemint.com)
In this well-explained article in MINT, Padmaparna Ghosh writes about protected areas are fighting battles with invasive species (like The African Black Fish (African Magur) or Prosopis juliflora, locally known as vilayati/foriegn babul/keekar), all of which were introduced to India either by design or accident.
Click here to view a slideshow on how alien species are threatening local eco systems.
Video: How to lodge a P.I.L (Public Interest Litigation) to benefit Animals?
Video: How to lodge an F.I.R with the Police when you see animal cruelty?
India: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (Also referred to as the PCA Act, 1960)
Click on the link below to download this PDF file to make yourself familiar with Animal Protection laws in India. Share this booklet with your neighbourhood Police Station too, its important we spread the word around on these largely unknown laws.
Click on this link that would lead you to a Dossier on animal protection laws for the guidance of police, HAWOs(Honorary Animal Welfare Officers), NGOs AND AWOs(Animal Welfare Organisations), that contains a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions answered thematically
Other useful resources are as follows:
Animals and the Law: A Powerpoint presentation by Advocate Ms. Aparna Rajagopal
The Indian PCA Act 1960: PDF File of The PCA – Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, a central act.
Rules under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960
Also, kindly consider watching the below video on Section 11 of the Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960
Video: Street Dog Sterilization and vaccination/Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme, India
Please Note: Through the feedback received thus far on this post, there is an apparent misunderstanding on the portion in this film’s beginning where street dogs are being cruelly captured using ‘tongs’ and since the narration of this movie is in Hindi rather than English, those confusions are obvious, hence in this regard we request you to please read our short clarification on the same below, prior to watching this film. Thanks.
“This film on the ABC programme does not in any way advocate the use of ‘tongs’ for capturing dogs for the purpose of sterilization, in fact this film was made in the beginning of this decade after the ABC programme was supported by the Supreme Court ruling and by High Courts across the country….and the translation (in English) of the narration behind that ‘tong’ portion in the early part of this video is that they are trying to show ‘the ways in which dogs were being caught bymunicipalities for killing purposes earlier’i.e prior to the start of ABC Programme’.
The use of such inhumane catching methods like tongs that you see the municipality catchers using in the beginning of this video is NOW illegal and horribly cruel. Up to 50% of dogs caught this cruel way die from internal bleeding.
Nowadays, people use the Net method or the Sack and loop method to humanely catch the dogs for transporting them to animal hospitals for sterilization purposes, this ensures that the animal is least traumatised during the whole process of it being taken away, even though momentarily, from its territory.”
For more information on the purpose and process of Street Dog Sterlization/Animal Birth Control-ABC Programme in India, please read:
In English: The Indian Street Dog
In Hindi: गली के आवारा कुत्ते
List of Animal Hospitals in Delhi and NCR undertaking ABC programme can be accessed here