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‘PMC must ensure sterilisation is as per plan,’ says Pune animal welfare officer

Manoj Oswal, an animal welfare officer working on an honorary basis with different organisations in the city and the municipal corporation, speaks about the current status of animal welfare centres in Pune

pune Updated: Nov 03, 2017 15:23 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
dog,welfare centres,pune
Manoj Oswal, an animal welfare officer.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Hindustan Times spoke to Manoj Oswal, an animal welfare officer, working on an honorary basis with different organisations in the city and the municipal corporation. Commenting upon the current status of animal welfare centres in the city, he spoke to HT about the trends and hurdles in the procedure.

What is the national policy on strays?

There is no such policy on stray cats, but there is for stray dogs. In around 1994, Maneka Gandhi had taken the initiative to ban the killing of stray dogs in the name of birth control. It was, then, that the aspect of sterilisation was adopted, which is operative everywhere.

How many dogs are being sterilised in the city?

Well, ideally the corporation has given the charge of sterilising 20 dogs per day to four agencies but due to shortage of space at the PMC sterilisation centres and low budget, the sterilisation is not happening the way it should. The agencies are paid some Rs.600 to Rs.700 per dog, which is not a good amount for the surgery, often leading some agencies to resort to poor quality of surgery. Also, the contracts given by PMC get over in April and then the tendering of the next contract takes time. By the time everything is ready, four months of gap in sterilisation ends up undoing the entire effort of an entire year. That gap needs to be filled by them to undertake a proper implementation of birth control.

What is the scenario on state-level?

There is no animal welfare department at the state level and the Animal Welfare Board here had been non-functional for the past few years until now, when initiatives are being taken to revive it. Only department at the state level is animal husbandry which works on a principle opposite to that of animal welfare, as their aim is to increase productivity of the animals. Also this department is operational mostly in rural areas, and having been overtly understaffed and overburdened, cases of animal welfare in these areas often are either ignored or handled voluntarily by the doctors. As per the provision of funds from the state government for animal welfare, that is still not in place.

What is the state of legal procedure for cases of animal cruelty in the city?

A lot of cases are coming up and unlike before, now even individuals are filing cases against such incidents of animal cruelty. Around 10 FIRs are registered in the city, every month for cases of animal cruelty, but not many go to trial. The thing is most of the cases are filed against unknown persons so instead of acting as a deterrent they embolden such people. Also, I believe the recent efforts of such cases need to be targeted towards detailed investigation, not merely just registering FIRs. Activists and NGOs need to follow up those cases, push and educate the policemen into creating an airtight charge sheet and taking the case up to trial. However sadly, most of them get satisfied once a story has been published in the media. The work is not over then, it just begins there.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 14:33 IST