For dog feeders, a thank you note from society is often lost in the mail, but the bounty of insults and harassment never fails to overflow.
Research states that people who harm animals do not stop with animals. Nobody knows what it is, whether it is the sense of cowardly superiority on inflicting violence upon the helpless or the sadistic pleasure of being in a one-sided fight where the results inevitably guarantee success.
Somewhere out there is a dog that is breathing his last under a vehicle. Closing his eyes, he imagines a better life whilst slowly succumbing to the beating he invited while looking for love when he approached that man who was in a bad mood.
With every act that goes unpunished, dies a little bit of humanity. To take a stand for the voiceless, and the people who have been advocating tirelessly for these animals, the Government of Goa has taken the initiative to uphold the rights of stray dogs and their feeders, and dog owners in Goa.
The Directorate of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services shed light on the Policy for Street and Pet Dog Caregiving. The guidelines state, “Animals have a right to be treated with compassion, respect and dignity. Animals are sentient creatures with intrinsic value. They may be mute, but we as a society have to speak on their behalf. No pain or agony should be caused to the animals. Cruelty to animals causes psychological pain to them. Animals breathe like us and have emotions. The animals require food, water, shelter, normal behaviour and medical care.”
Here is a glimpse of some of the guidelines that have been issued under the policy:
“The importance of street dogs in our community is of great significance. Being territorial animals, they live in certain areas and play the role of guards by protecting the community from the entry of outsiders or unknown people. If these are removed from a certain area, the new stray dogs will take their place.
“The dogs have to be sterilised and vaccinated and returned to the same area. Vaccinated and sterilised dogs cannot be removed by the Municipality/Panchayat.
“It shall be the duty and obligation of every Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) or Municipality/Panchayat to ensure that every community dog in every area has access to food and water in the absence of caregivers or community dog feeders in the said area.
“No person can restrict the other from feeding of dogs, until and unless it is causing harm to that other person.
“It shall be the duty and responsibility of the Municipality/Panchayat and all Government authorities including enforcement authorities like Police to provide all assistance and ensure that no hindrance is caused to the caregivers or feeders of community dogs.
“The Government of Goa by Office Memorandum dated 26th May, 2006 notified that any Government servant who indulges in act of cruelty to animals will be making himself liable for action under Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act. Besides, punishment under the Act, he would also make himself liable for action under CCS (Conduct) Rules for conduct unbecoming of a Government servant.
“Should any RWA intimidate a Pet owner or harass them into abandoning their Pet, then such RWA shall be held culpable for criminal intimidation and shall also be subject to prosecution under such provisions of the IPC if such Pet dies as a consequence or is seriously injured.
“RWA’s shall not ban Pet owners from using lifts for their Pets.”
In most cases of animal cruelty, “remorse” is just a word in a dusty old dictionary that people have long forgotten, which just proves that we as a society lack accountability for our actions. It is high time people realise that this is 2022, and although dogs are not capable of hiring a lawyer themselves, illtreating them can still land you in court.