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My dog was poisoned: Mumbai pet lover recalls horror

Besides dogs, smaller animals like rabbits, and birds too are being treated with cruelty

mumbai Updated: Jun 03, 2017 10:21 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
animal cruelty,mumbai pet lovers,cruelty to pets
Bandra resident Ryan Rodrics lost his seven-year-old German Shepahrd after leaving her at a Virar pet centre for 10 days.(HT Photo)

Bandra resident Ryan Rodrics left his healthy, happy seven-year-old German Shepherd, Heiley, at a pet centre in Virar in January, before leaving with his family for a 10-day vacation. When he returned, Heiley was a traumatised and seriously ill animal. Rodrics frantically drove through traffic to a veterinary clinic, with Heiley howling in the backseat, her private parts smeared with blood. Heiley died before they reached.

Heiley’s was one of the 19,028 animal cruelty cases recorded in Mumbai in five years (2011-2016). The victims: dogs, cats, birds, goats, horses, bullocks, fowl and cattle. But a weak law protecting animals meant not one of these cases saw those responsible being arrested or convicted, data compiled by the Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA) revealed.

“We do not know what was done to Heiley. When we got her back, her body was full off maggots and ticks, and she seemed weaker than ever,” said Rodrics. “What is worse, the woman running the lodging centre offered me a pup to replace Heiley. She will never understand the relationship owners and their pets share.”

The owner of the Virar centre, Shonali Wagh, however blamed Rodrics for his pet’s death. Speaking to HT, Wagh alleged the owners waited for their pet to die. “We took care of the dog, but we were not told about the prior health issues it had,” Wagh said. “We have the expertise of a veterinary doctor and we would never want anything to happen to our pets. We even offered a puppy to compensate for their loss.”

‘My dog was poisoned to death’

Swapnil Khot, with his pet Kantu, a few months before the dog’s death (Ht Photo)

Swapnil Khot’s pet dog, the four-year-old Kantu, died on his lap hours after it went for walk in a Borivli neighbourhood.

Khot alleges someone in his building abused it and fed it poisoned food.

“When Kantu came back, it was panting breathlessly and whining. Around 3am, Kantu started coughing and his stomach started to swell,” said Khot, adding, “We rushed it to our vet, who said Kantu had eaten something that was affecting it. As soon as we reached home, he lied down on my lap, his breath slowed down and eventually stopped.”

Khot adopted Kantu, a stray, when it was one-week-old. He got it neutered and vaccinated.

“People feel dogs are unhealthy or unhygienic. But they need care too,” said Geeta Khot, Swapnil’s mother. “Our neighbours did not stop us from keeping the dog, but they always had an eye on what Kantu was up to.”

Khot has now adopted another stray. “Who will take care of strays? They have nowhere to go to.”

Not just dogs and cats, birds, rabbits not spared

Lovebirds crammed into cages at a pet shop in Mumbai (HT Photo)

It’s not just dogs and cats that are being subjected to cruelty. Smaller animals like rabbit, and birds too are being treated badly.

The main reason cases of cruelty against animals was rising, said city NGOs, was the lack awareness among people.

“People are buying pets nowadays just to show off, but they pay no attention to their well-being,” said Harsh Shah of The Birds and Animal Helpline (BAH).

The helpline connects people calling in with complaints or rescue requests to the nearest NGO. Shah said, “People love to buy lovebirds, which come in pairs. But as soon as one of the birds dies, they let go of its pair. As these are caged and domesticated, they are not able to survive in the wild.”

First Published: Apr 25, 2017 14:09 IST