Kerala court initiates animal rights PIL after dog killed by 3, names it after ‘Bruno’

Bruno, the labrador brutally beaten with sticks and then hung by a fishing hook, provoked the Kerala high court to initiate a suo moto case on protection of animal rights.
The Kerala high court’s division bench said instances of cruelty to animals reported in the media had become “frighteningly frequent” in the last couple of years
The Kerala high court’s division bench said instances of cruelty to animals reported in the media had become “frighteningly frequent” in the last couple of years
Published on Jul 02, 2021 11:37 PM IST
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Thiruvananthapuram: A widely-circulated video of a labrador brutally beaten with sticks and then hung by a fishing hook moved two Kerala high court judges to initiate a suo moto public interest litigation for the protection of animal rights and issue a string of instructions.

The judges also named the case after the dog, Bruno.

“We feel this will be a fitting tribute to the hapless dog that succumbed to the acts of human cruelty and disturbed by which we had initiated these proceedings,” a division bench of justices Jayasankaran Nambiar and P Gopinath said about its direction to the court’s registrar to rename the petition as “In Re: Bruno (Suo moto proceedings initiated by the high court in the matter of executive and legislative inaction of the state government in the matter of protection of animal rights)”.

Bruno was killed on Adimalathura beach on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram by three men who pounced on the labrador resting by the boat owned by Sunil, one of the three and started thrashing it. They hit the dog with a thick stick, then hung it on the boat with a fishing hook and continued raining blows till it seemed dead.

Police said the accused has had spats with the dog owner Christuraj in the past, at least on one occasion over the dog urinating near their vessel. It is not clear where Christuraj was when the dog was being beaten.

A person who captured the incident on his mobile phone later shared the clip with Christuraj who put it out on social media. Local reports said the police did not initially act on his complaint. Later the Thiruvananthapuram chapter of People for Animals intervened and a FIR was registered.

The video touched off massive outrage.

Upset at Bruno’s inhuman treatment, Justice Jayasankaran Nambiar on Thursday wrote a letter to Chief Justice S Manikumar. This letter was later treated as a suo moto petition.

In Friday’s order, the judges said instances of cruelty to animals reported in the media had become “frighteningly frequent” in the last couple of years and “we believe that the State must now resort to affirmative action to alleviate their misery”.

The bench, which will hear the case next on 13 July, ordered the police to report the action taken in the case relating to Bruno’s death and requested Kerala’s director of prosecution to give “personal attention” so that the wheels of justice are set in motion.

“We feel immediate steps are required to initiate a change in the attitude of our citizenry to the welfare of animals so that gruesome incidents, such as those reported in the media, do not recur in future,” the division bench said.

The judges noted that Kerala’s animal welfare board was last constituted in 2008 on a three-year-term and faced problems in its functioning and directed the state government to report back within a month with the corrective steps that it has taken.

The bench also nudged the government to spend more on veterinary hospitals that desperately need an upgrade, explore the option of holding animal adoption camps at least thrice a year and giving district authorities the power to investigate complaints of infringement of animal rights.

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Monday, October 18, 2021