Animal cruelty cases rose in Mumbai since lockdown, claim activists

ByMegha Sood
Apr 06, 2021 06:21 PM IST

In the first two months of 2021, at least 8 animal abuse cases were registered in Mumbai every day, as per NGOs.

On March 28, a man was captured on CCTV at Naya Nagar in Goregaon west molesting a stray dog; however, no police case was registered. On March 11, a serial dog rapist was arrested by the DN Nagar police for raping at least eight female dogs only after the video of the crime was submitted to the police. On March 4, a five year old community dog was beaten to death by a few locals at Chandivali, following which, an FIR was registered at the Sakinaka police station under Section 429 (mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless an animal) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but no arrests were made, in spite of a recorded video of the violent act. On October 20, 2020, a nine year old female dog was raped, brutally injured by pushing a wooden stick in her private part and left to die near Galleria mall at Hiranandani Gardens in Powai. The police registered a case of rape and attempt to murder against an unidentified man who is still at large.

Police officers said no separate data on victimised animals was available. (REUTERS)
Police officers said no separate data on victimised animals was available. (REUTERS)

These are just a few instances reported to the police where people have acted worse than the animals during the post lockdown period - starting from April 2020. According to animal activists and NGO workers, the number of animal abuse cases has increased drastically and at an alarming rate post lockdown.

Vijay Mohnani, of the NGO Bombay Animal Rights and the Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), said the frustration of losing jobs and inflation is also one of the reasons for incidents of animal abuse doubling in 2021 compared to 2019 and 2018.

Data collected by the NGOs reveals that in the first two months of 2021, at least 8 animal abuse cases were registered in Mumbai every day, as compared to 3 or 4 cases in 2019. Last year, despite the lockdown, 886 cases were registered, with maximum cases registered after September 2020.

Out of the 480 cases recorded in the first two months this year, 266 were accidents and hit and run cases, while the rest were brutal murders, rapes, assaults and harassment like starving the animal or death due to abandonment.

“Before the lockdown we used to get around 2 to 3 complaints of hit and run and accident cases of stray animals but after the lockdown these numbers have increased to 7 to 8 cases in a day across the city,” said Mohnani.

Police and activists say some men consider it a sport to harm and abuse defenceless animals by beating, kicking, torturing, throwing acid or boiling water, amputating part of the body, attacking with a knife or a blunt object.

Lata Parmar, Mumbai unit head of the People For Animals (PFA) said since the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) doesn’t keep animal violence data, it becomes difficult for the government and police to gauge the problem. “This data is collected by the reports that reach us but there are so many cases that go unreported,” said Parmar.

BJP Member of Parliament and animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi, who was also the chairperson of PFA, advocated for stricter punishment and penalties for offenders.

Parmar said insensitivity towards animals and ignorance of law are the main causes of animal abuse cases. “Many do not know the law and others do not care as punishment for injuring an animal is rare, which makes them fearless,” said Parmar.

Police officers said no separate data on victimised animals was available. From 2010 to 2020 nearly 20,000 cases have been recorded by the police with the help of NGOs and activists but just a few arrests have been made. “We register a case and investigate it and even make arrests,” said Navinchadra Reddy, deputy commissioner of police (zone 10).

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 punishes all kinds of crimes against animals but the fine ranges between just 10 to 100. Moreover crimes against animals are put on the back burner by the police. “This is proof that crimes against animals are not taken seriously,” said Dr Radha Chaudhary, a veterinary.

Increasing cases and lengthy and costly procedures to register a police complaint was taking a toll on the activists now. Mohnani stated that there was just one government run hospital for animals in Mumbai but it was not free and the person who reports the crime is handed over the bill for treatment of the injured or abused animal.

Mohnani said that once a rescuer spots an injured animal, he immediately calls the BMC helpline which is not answered. If the rescuer gets hold of an official, he is asked to contact the nearest NGO or a veterinary doctor. The rescuer then has to pay for the ambulance to get the animal to the hospital in Parel or elsewhere. If the animal survives, the rescuer is asked to pay for its treatment or if it dies he has to pay for the last rites. He then has to spend time and money at the police station to register a complaint.

“It’s expensive and time consuming, so these days if the animal survives, we avoid filing an FIR due to which many crimes are not registered with the police,” said Mohnani.

During the lockdown, activists had to fight with several residential societies to allow pet owners to take them outside for their daily walks, “Animals do not understand lockdown, they need to relieve themselves but many residential societies banned the owners to do so. We had to register many police complaints for harassment to animals,” said Mohnani.


Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act makes all animal cruelties a criminal offence. Fines and imprisonment are both provided for. The Indian Penal Code has similar provisions. Under Section 506 of the IPC, it is a crime to threaten, abuse or harass neighbours who feed animals.

IPC Section 428 and 429 prescribe severe punishment of up to five years imprisonment to people resorting to dislocation, abduction and acts of cruelty towards community animals or pets and in such cases the police can arrest any offender without a warrant.

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