Nagaland: Local authorities bark shoot-at-sight order again; dog lovers fume
Dimapur, May 21 (EMN): A popular online community based in Nagaland that shelters homeless animals posted about an incident where a village council in Mokokchung had decreed that no families would be allowed to keep pets; and if caught ‘during surprise routine checks’, the pets, especially dogs ,would be shot at sight.
This created a furore among animal lovers, and many started to narrate their ordeals and express anger over the directive of the village authority.
Many incidents have occurred in the recent past where dogs were shot and killed, but gone unreported as it involve village councils, one of the most powerful organisations—if not the most powerful—in the Naga social/political structure.
Aren Jamir, a resident of Mokokchung, told Eastern Mirror that she had to send her dog to her friend’s place because the colony elders had come to warn her that it would be shot on sight.
“They told me my dog should not even be seen in my compound; how will my dog go for a walk?” she wondered, adding that she dropped her dog at her friend’s place who lives in another colony.
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, reminded that it is a reoccurring issue, not just in Mokokchung but also in several other districts in Nagaland.
“I agree that some dogs are a nuisance and it becomes a sanitary issue if they go rummaging through the garbage, but there is a proper and civilised way to find a solution,” reasoned the Mokokchung resident.
An issue that a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) shared was that dog meat being a delicacy in the state, people do not think twice about killing the dog.
“Who is to say that the remains of the dogs that are shot death will not be sold in the market for human consumption; it needs to stop,” maintained an SPCA member.
Speaking to this newspaper, the deputy commissioner (DC) of Mokokchung, Limawabang Jamir, said that he has ‘taken cognisance of the issue’, and issued a notice declaring the shoot-at-sight order as against the law.
In the notice, the DC has declared the shoot-at-sight order a punishable offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA), 1960.
The DC stated that legal proceedings would be initiated under sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the PCAA against any village authorities, ward authorities, individuals, groups in Mokokchung acting in contravention.
Further, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and several quarantine centres being set up in different parts of the district, all pet owners have been directed to prevent their pets from straying outside their respective home premises.
‘Action’ will be initiated under relevant section of the Disaster Management Act (DMA), 2005 against the owner, it stated.
In a notice issued on May 19, the deputy commissioner of Phek had also directed that all domestic animals ‘like dogs, chicken and others’ be kept chained at all times until further notice, to reduce the risk of transmission of infection through the domestic animals visiting garbage disposal areas at the quarantine centres.
‘The owner shall be held responsible and liable to be punished under relevant section of the DMA, 2005 in the event of non-compliance of the order,’ it stated.
It may be mentioned that in August, the previous year, the state animal welfare advisory board had also issued an order, directing all DCs of Nagaland to immediately register their respective SPCAs under Societies Registration Act of 1860, as well as to inform the public that shoot-at-sight orders were against and contrary to the PCAA.