Panchayat secy among 12 arrested over killing of dogs in Shivamogga
Twelve people, including a gram panchayat secretary, have been arrested on charges of killing around 60 dogs at Hunasekatte village in Bhadravati taluk of Shivamogga district, around 300km from Bengaluru, police said on Monday.
Though Shivamogga police are yet to release details of the arrested as the investigation is underway, officials said the suspects in custody include workers of the private firm that fed poison to the dogs, a JCB operator, two members of Kambadalu-Hosur gram panchayat, secretary and a bill collector of the panchayat.
Officials of Bhadravati Rural police station, where the complaint was registered on September 7, said local residents who observed some suspicious activity in the area informed a group involved in animal rescue. Activists of the group then found carcasses of dogs. They alleged that gram panchayat officials contracted a private firm to kill the dogs and that some of them were buried alive.
Police officials said the investigation confirmed the allegation, but added that only some members of the panchayat were part of the plan. Officials of the police station said the gram panchayat gave the task of catching and sterilising stray dogs within panchayat limits to private contractors. The decision was taken during a meeting of the panchayat and an amount was set aside for the task.
“While the original decision was to catch stray dogs and release them after neutering them, some members of the panchayat, including the secretary, conspired with the private party to kill the dogs by giving them poison, and bury some of them alive,” a police official said on condition of anonymity.
The police have got the post-mortem conducted on 60 dogs. Skin, hair and liver samples have been sent to a forensic science laboratory (FSL). However, a report confirming the use of poison is yet to be received from the FSL. “They (FSL) haven’t been able to identify the cause of the death because the carcasses are more than 5 days old. But they have said that they will be able to give a detailed report soon,” said a police official.
The incident happened a month after police in Hassan district arrested seven people, including a woman, for killing 38 macaque monkeys in Chowdenahalli. On July 29, as many as 38 bonnet macaques were poisoned to death and they were found stuffed in a gunny bag at a road junction in Belur taluk in Hassan district. One monkey managed to escape and was spotted sitting near the gunny bag.
The Karnataka high court on July 30 initiated public interest litigation (PIL) proceedings, after taking suo moto cognizance of media reports on the deaths. Describing the incident as ‘disturbing’, the bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice NS Sanjay Gowda ordered the registrar general to register a suo motu PIL in the matter.
The investigation found that the accused had not planned to kill the monkeys but had hired a couple, known to be experts in monkey-catching, to catch the monkeys after they causes damage to areca nut and coffee plantations in Ugane village in Sakaleshpur taluk.