Pet lovers in Nagaland campaign against animal cruelty
Dimapur, June 8 (EMN): Reports of shoot-at-sight order for dogs across Nagaland have fuelled anger and disappointment among the pet owners and animal lovers alike.
There have been reports of dogs being shot/killed in some towns and villages as the animals ‘were not under control/within the vicinity of their owner’s compound’.
There were orders that stated, “while shooting the dog, if any untoward incident happens and the dog happens to bite anyone, then the dog owner would be solely responsible”.
Dog owners were also requested to keep their pets under control and within the vicinity of their house/residence only.
There were also reports from pet owners that some local authorities/volunteers went around announcing on loudspeakers in their locality in Dimapur that “if any dogs are found loitering in the locality, the dog will be their meal”.
Such insensitive orders, without any substantiation that dogs spread coronavirus, have created furore among the pet owners, which prompted the member of Parliament, and animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi, to write to the state chief minister on May 25 seeking intervention in repealing the order for dogs.
The pet owners also took upon themselves to create awareness among the local authorities, particularly on dogs and coronavirus, by approaching the district administrations in the state.
The pet owners, through mass participation and contribution, went door-to-door and on the streets, issuing pamphlets with a messages about the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Taking cognisance of their efforts, a few district administrations across the state have passed orders against the shoot-at-sight diktat.
Animal lovers in Dimapur, Kiphire, Mon, Longleng, and Tuensang have covered their districts, creating awareness through the distribution of pamphlets seeking revocation of the shoot-at-sight order for dogs.
Choose kindness over cruelty
The pamphlets contained the following messages: ‘animals cannot transmit Covid-19, as per the World Health Organisation; the shoot-at-sight orders made by the local authorities is a criminal offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960; if anyone harms or threatens your pet, you have every right to file an FIR; and committing mischief by harming/killing animals can lead to imprisonment for 2 years’.
“Thousands of people feed street animals in the cities; it’s a kind gesture that you can do too. We are a civilised Christian society and should never promote a culture where people are free to shoot, destroy or steal any property (living and non-living) at all costs. Let’s set an example of kindness and safety towards the younger generation,” the pet owners urged.
Also, they encouraged people to take care of their pets, walk them on a leash and keep them clean and hygienic.
“We request you all to practice kindness and humanity, especially at this time when the world is suffering. Covid-19 has already taken away so much from us. Let’s not destroy each other even more. Spread kindness and love. Pet owners are also requested to vaccinate your pets and socialise and feed them on time and make time to walk your dog for about 30 minutes at the least,” the pet owners appealed in their messages.
How about reverse infection?
Speaking to Eastern Mirror, Dr. Michael Imti Imchen, a veterinary assistant surgeon, informed that till date, there are no reports of animal-to-human transmission of coronavirus; and that studies are being conducted by researchers.
“We are ignorant of the real situation and we should understand that animals do not spread the virus. Pet owners should not worry about contracting the virus from their pets or other animals. Our people should understand and be updated that till date, we have no evidence of the virus being transmitted from a pet but it is the other way round. It is much more likely that a person could potentially transmit the virus to their pet,” Imchen remarked.
When asked about the news of a tiger being infected with the virus, Imchen clarified that the tiger contracted the virus through a handler.
“The risk of pets contracting the virus is low, and at the moment, there is little to no risk of pets transmitting the virus to humans, with no evidence suggesting that such transmission has ever happened,” the veterinarian said.
Imchen further said that people are ignorant of the existing Acts and laws against such acts of cruelty.
However, with such cruel orders, he suggested that the only solution for pet owners was to take extra care of their pets to avoid any untoward incident because of the ignorance of the people.
He also suggested pet owners to consult the doctors, train their pets or discipline them, walk them with a leash on, feed them properly not just with food but with supplements so that their pets do not stray to the streets searching for food, and give them timely vaccinations.