You’ve heard this story before. Stray mongrels adopt a swanky neighbourhood or gated community as their home, and soon enough, the residents split into two angry, snarling packs: dog-lovers, who neuter, vaccinate and feed the hounds, and lovingly dress them in coats when winter sets in, and dog-haters, who condemn those who ‘encourage’ the animals, and resolve to deal with the ‘menace’ by themselves.
That’s exactly what unfolded in Thane, Mumbai, about a month ago. Two dogs were found dead due to alleged poisoning in Vijay Vilas Society, Godbunder Road.
The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) says they are on the lookout for the “murderers” responsible for killing the dogs, an offence punishable with imprisonment or a fine under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
To this end, they’ve offered Rs 20,000 as a reward for anyone who turns up with information on the killings. They have also organised a candle-lit vigil at Thane Lake to call attention to the issue.
Khusboo Gupta, co-ordinator of the FIAPO, says, “It’s against the law to kill an animal. And we have reason to believe that some members of this society have murdered these dogs as they just didn’t like them.”
She says that the dogs had been living in the compound for a while and had been neutered and vaccinated. They were also fed by some resident dog lovers, and were not aggressive or dangerous.
Arpan Sharma, her colleague, says he “demands justice”, and to that end, has stored some evidence of the “planned murder”, in the form of “online conversations between society residents on their Yahoo group”.
The FIAPO is using another argument, which should sound convincing to members of both packs: that such acts of cruelty might be a sign of latent psychopathic tendencies.