Stray dogs disappearing in Kurseong: Police complaint lodged | cities | Hindustan Times
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Stray dogs disappearing in Kurseong: Police complaint lodged

A Siliguri-based NGO lodged the complaint.

cities Updated: Dec 05, 2017 16:24 IST
File picture. Like Darjeeling and Kalimpong, the small town of Kurseong suffered the 104-day shutdown in the north Bengal hills between mid-June and end-September.
File picture. Like Darjeeling and Kalimpong, the small town of Kurseong suffered the 104-day shutdown in the north Bengal hills between mid-June and end-September.(HT Photo)

The quaint hill town of Kurseong in Darjeeling hills has got a new talking point besides the ongoing agitation of Gorkhaland -- disappearing stray dogs. The sudden disappearance of dogs from the streets has triggered the suspicion that they are being smuggled for meat consumption and has prompted an NGO to lodge a police complaint.

Priya Rudra, the founding president of Animal Helpline Siliguri, who visited Kurseong after the incident was reported, told HT, “During my Kurseong visit I only saw a few stray dogs. Their number was supposed to be much higher.”

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The NGO lodged a complaint with Kurseong police station.

“We lodged the complaint on November 25, but the police are not cooperating,” Rudra who founded the Animal Helpline, an NGO working for animals four years back, said. “There is strong possibility that the dogs are being smuggled for meat purpose in local areas and also for far away north east,” she claimed.

Brigen Gurung, vice chairman of Kurseong municipality, also suspected that stray dogs were being caught for meat purpose.

Though none has seen dogs being taken away from the streets, residents vouch their numbers were higher.

Read: U’khand CM has a dogged problem: Stray dogs near residence robbing him of sleep

“I was regularly feeding the dogs during the 104-day-long shutdown and have an idea about their numbers. Their number has suddenly gone down,” said Sangeeta Adya a senior English teacher at St Joseph School, Kurseong.

“I was told by locals that on November 23, more than 40 stray dogs were picked from Kurseong town by four masked men who loaded them in a blue coloured pick up van and disappeared.”

“I strongly suspect the stray dogs were being smuggled for meat purpose,” said Sameer Chettri, a veterinary doctor who is closely associated with Darjeeling Animals Shelter.

Adya, Rudra and Chettri said there was no need of picking up stray dogs as a sterilisation camp in Kurseong was organised only two months ago.

Read: Stray dog killed in posh Delhi locality, family under suspicion

Chettri claimed he heard that dog meat was being sold near Batasia near Darjeeling. However, there was no confirmation.

Gurung also said that he has heard local people recovering dogs’ heads, skins and tails in the forests. “We are keeping close vigil,” Gurung said.

Incidentally, in late August, Delhi Police arrested two youths on charges of killing and consuming the meat of a stray dog. Under the Food Safety & Standard Regulations, 2011, slaughtering of animals like dogs and cat for food is illegal.

“The sterilisation camp was organised after we received complaints of stray dogs biting people. Permission of local municipality is a must before picking up stray dogs,” Gurung said.

A senior police officer, who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “We are yet to get any evidence of dogs being lifted and have no time to look into the complaint.” However, he confirmed Animal Helpline lodging the complaint.

Debashis Chattopadhyay, the sub divisional officer of Kalimpong said he did not know about the controversy.