Thursday, 28 February 2013

HC gives green signal for tail docking, ear cropping of pet dogs

Docking the tail or cropping the ears of your pet dog does not amount to mutilation and cannot be treated as cruelty to the animal, the Madras High Court has ruled.
The court also ruled that neither the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) nor the Veterinary Council of India has any authority to prohibit registered veterinarians from performing tail docking and ear cropping of certain breeds of pet dogs such as Doberman, Cocker Spaniel, Great Danes and Boxer at the request of their owners.
Allowing a writ petition filed by Kennel Club of India (KCI), Justice D. Hariparanthaman quashed a notice issued by the veterinary council on November 11, 2011, directing all registered veterinarians in the country to stop forthwith the practice of performing the two surgical procedures on pups. The notice had warned the veterinarians of stringent action if they were found to be continuing the practice.
It was issued on the basis of a letter written to the council by the AWBI Chairman who had opined that the surgical procedures cause mutilation and therefore amount to violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960.
The chairman had also claimed that many countries including the United Kingdom had banned the two surgical procedures.
Assailing the notice, KCI contended that the two surgical procedures actually make the dogs look good and stay alert besides preventing ear infection and injuries on the tails.
Further, drawing an analogy, the petitioner club said that the chairman’s view was akin to declaring as illegal the act of people choosing to perform circumcision and piercing the ears and noses of their newborn children.
After recording submissions made by both sides, the judge said that tail docking and ear cropping would not amount to mutilating the pets and therefore dog lovers or owners could not be accused of such an offence.
Though the term ‘mutilation’ had not been defined under the PCA Act, the judge relied on the meanings found in various dictionaries to arrive at the conclusion.
Not wanting to go into the correctness of articles and books written about the two surgical procedures, Mr. Justice Hariparanthaman pointed out that the procedures were only regulated and not prohibited in the UK. The AWBI and the veterinary council had not disputed the fact that dogs belonging to the police department were also subjected to ear cropping and tail docking.
He stated that the notice under challenge was bad in law as the AWBI’s statutory role was restricted to advising the Centre. It was up to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to give effect to the advice by invoking its rule making power under Section 38 of the PCA Act. But no such rule had been framed with regard to the present issue.
To make things worse, the veterinary council had issued the notice on the basis of a letter written by the AWBI’s chairman alone and not the Board as such.
“In my view, the AWBI is different from chairman… Section 9 of the Act contemplates providing of advice by AWBI and not by the chairman… Hence, the advisory of the chairman cannot be treated as the decision of AWBI,” the judge added.

Imran Khan all set to open animal shelter
Imran Khan's love for rescuing strays is known. The actor is so passionate about the cause that he, along with his mother Nuzhat and wife Avantika Malik, work dedicatedly towards rescuing stray dogs and cats, trying to put them up for adoption.
Now, the actor intends to take his passion to the next level and has bought a few acres on the outskirts of Mumbai, where the rescued animals will be kept till someone is ready to adopt them รข€” or for life if need be.
A source says, "The star has purchased close to four acres and he will convert this into an animal shelter. He has plans to hire in-house veterinary doctors and staff who will attend to the rescued animals."
When asked if this was true, Imran said, "This is a cause that resonates with me. If I didn't do this, there would be no me. I'm that passionate about it."
He refrains from speaking about the animal shelter as yet, because plans are still underway. However, even as we speak, Imran has five cats and one dog at his Pali Hill residence and all of them have either been picked up from the street or brought to him by friends and neighbours who know the animals will find care.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Women beat up activist over feeding stray dogs

NAVI MUMBAI: Animal activist Rinki Banerjee (30), on Thursday, lodged a non-cognizable complaint against a group of women, who allegedly beat her up for supporting the cause of feeding stray dogs in Sector 11 at the New Panvel police station.

On Thursday, Banerjee went to Sector 11 after resident Sandhya Parekh informed her that locals were not allowing her to feed strays. "The women, who claimed to be from a political party, surrounded me. One of the women pulled my hair and started slapping me, while others egged her on," said Banerjee. "When I started hitting the woman back, they retreated".

Parekh said: "The locals must realise that it is our constitutional right to feed animals."

The women have lodged a cross-NC against Parekh for encouraging "dog menace" in the area. Health officer of Cidco N R Parab admitted that the women were wrong in beating up the activist. "They had complained to Cidco about a few strays. We had taken two dogs to our kennel; will sterilize them and release them in the area," Parab said.

Meanwhile, the stray puppy, which was found dead in Vijay Nagari Annex Housing Society in Thane on January 26, was punched to death.

"The Thane police has to collect the post-mortem report from the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals," said Bhawanji Chhadwa of Sadbhavna Charitable Trust.He added that the mouth of the puppy was stuffed with a cloth in order to muffle its cries of pain. I hope that the police catch the cruel culprit soon, as this harmless pup has suffered a painful death,'' added Chhadwa. TOI had first mentioned about this stray puppy earlier this week.

Animals are more scared of us than we are of them, says Vidya Athreya
PUNE: Citizens should be more sensitive to animals living in close proximity to human habitation and chasing or beating them will only force the animals to retaliate, urged wildlife biologist, Vidya Athreya on Wednesday.
Athreya who works at the Wildlife Conservation Society of India was speaking at the conference 'Jungle Lore', organised as part of the ongoing 7th Kirloskar Vasundhara international film festival.
Addressing the gathering, Athreya said that incidents like the recent case of a leopard injuring a villager in Shelarwadi, Dehu road cantonment area can be avoided with correct handling of the situation. "Animals are more scared of us than we are of them. Research says that if we don't trouble them, they will not trouble us," she said.
Lauding the tolerance of the people in rural areas for having co-existed with animals for centuries, Athreya said that chasing away animals with sticks, or crowding around them is what makes them retaliate. It's best to walk away, when an animal is sighted, she said.
The conference also had a session on eco-tourism and challenges which was addressed by Nitin Kakodkar, chief conservator of forests (education and training). Kakodkar underlined the need to involve the locals and every other stake holder in conservation and promotion of such sites.
He stressed on the need to educate local populations on the benefits of eco-tourism, including generation of employment and increasing revenue to improve their standard of living.
The day-long conference also had a session on joint forest management with a case study of Sakude village (Purandar taluka) presented by committee president, Suresh Saste. Pramod Patil who works for the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard addressed a session on the initiatives being taken for conserving the birds, while conservationist Sanjay Rahangdale spoke on floral diversity of Junnar taluka with special reference to Ceropegias.
Prachi Mehta of Wildlife Research and Conservation Society suggested simple measures for better management of animal-human conflicts, in order to protect crops from animal destruction, with a special reference to elephants have made their way from Karnataka into Maharashtra.
Jungle Lore, organized with a larger objective of involving the youth and nature lovers in environment conservation also had an interactive session on careers in the field and forest departments.
The conference concluded with the felicitation of three Indian Forest Service (IFS) guards for their contribution towards environment conservation.