Animal rights groups, cops rescue 56 cats from filthy Pune apartment
The rescuers said that the cats, many of whom were pregnant, injured and diseased were living in a flat covered with faeces.pune Updated: Sep 14, 2017 12:28 IST
The Pune police and animal rights groups rescued 56 cats from a dirty apartment in Kondhwa, Pune on Tuesday. Two sisters, residents of a neighbouring flat, were booked by the police for keeping the animals in unhygienic and cruel conditions.
The rescuers said that the cats, many of whom were pregnant, injured and diseased were living in a flat covered with faeces. Police said they had received several complaints from residents of the building about the smell.
Pune police told HT that the accused – Dipika Kapoor, 51, and Sangeeta Kapoor, 42, had kept the animals in one flat of Brahma Horizon building while they lived in another apartment. According to the complaint by Meher Mathrani, a welfare officer at Animal Welfare Board, an organisation run by the Environment and Forest Ministry, the women had kept the animals there since November 2014. “Our investigations are on to check whether they wanted to sell the cats. However, we registered an offence under cruelty to animals and public nuisance. People in the vicinity were falling ill because of the condition of the apartment. The duo has been warned, but since it is a bailable offence, we have not arrested them,” said Milind Gaikwad, senior police inspector, Kondhwa police station.
Rescuers from Humane Society International/India (HSI/I), ResQ Charitable Trust, People for Animals and Action against Cruelty and Trauma coordinated a joint rescue operation and informed the Pune police about the animals. Though there were earlier reports that there were 20-30 cats, rescuers said that there were 56 animals.
The volunteers who carried out the rescue said it was the toughest operation they ever undertook. “The cats were living in a horrible condition. There were four inches of cat faeces all over the floor, and the house was infested with insects. It was a difficult situation for our rescue team, and even the police were unable to stand in the apartment for more than a minute,” said Neha Panchamiya, president, ResQ Charitable Trust, Pune.
Sangeeta claimed that they took care of the cats and were in the process of shifting the animals to a better place when the housing society members complained against them. “We had run into major financial debts, but had made sure that the cats were taken care of. We have been taking care of the cats for the past 10 years,” Sangeeta said. “We spend over ₹50,000 per month on the cats’ welfare. But we ran into some financial trouble after my father passed away in 2015. My mother was blinded a few months after that and my sister was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour.”
N G Jayasimha, member, Maharashtra Animal Welfare Board and managing director, HSI/India, said, “This is an unfortunate case of rescuers who became overwhelmed, overextended their limited resources and simply had more animals than they can properly care for.”
The cats were taken to ResQ Charitable Trust for rehabilitation are being treated by veterinarians. Following their treatment, they will be put up for adoption
There has been a significant rise in animal cruelty cases in the state with almost 10 cases being reported daily, according to statistics from the Animal Welfare Board.