Manipal Dog Killings—Activist’s Fight Continues
On 25th June 2019, Senior Animal Rights Litigator and trustee of Madhwaraj Animal Care Trust, Babita Madhwaraj, filed an FIR at the Manipal Police Station under section 428 of the IPC, section 11 in The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and section 93 of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. These acts make the killing or poisoning of animals, among other things, illegal and a punishable offence. She was joined by students of MAHE, along with concerned animal rights activists from other organisations in town, in filing the first FIR of its kind in Udupi.
According to the complaint, on the night of Saturday, 22nd June, eight stray dogs were found dead in the vicinity of Mandavi Emerald, Manipal—allegedly due to the consumption of poisoned fish. Two days later, two more bodies—one of an adult dog, and another of a puppy were found outside Mandavi Sovereign, Manipal. Most of the dogs found had been sterilised by a local NGO and posed no threat to the community.
Shriya Dhaundiyal, a student of MAHE, along with her friends, noticed the eight dogs lying in front of Emerald on Saturday night. The following morning, on questioning the building security guards, they learnt that the dogs had died, and their bodies had been taken away. Shriya then complained at the Manipal Police Station on 24th June and informed Babita Madhwaraj about the issue, who took up the case and filed an FIR the next day. Assuming the dogs were taken by the Udupi Municipality staff, Babita Madhwaraj duly requested the police to issue a requisition letter to the Deputy District Veterinary Officer to conduct a post mortem immediately after exhumation of the bodies. Further, the complaint states that CCTV footage is unavailable at Mandavi Emerald, as the CCTV connections were reportedly taken down that week.
Since the filing of the FIR, Babita Madhwaraj has spearheaded the fight to find the perpetrator, making personal attempts to find CCTV footage and posting regular updates on social media. Owing to these efforts, along with the outrage of the community, much media attention has been focused on the case. In the past week, she has appeared on talk shows on two local channels—Namma Kudla and Spandana TV joined by Pritam Adiga and Dr Suhas Bhat respectively, to raise awareness on the case. While some callers on the show expressed their support, a few others criticised her for not speaking up about the abuse of other animals.
“The planned, merciless and inhuman poisoning of the eight community dogs is not just illegal, but also completely unacceptable and condemnable! It’s a matter of extreme shame and disgrace for the entire community, and we hope that justice will be served soon. The guilty must be caught and punished”, said Babita Madhwaraj. The Manipal police continue their investigations, but there have been no major updates or breakthroughs.
Image Credits: Babita Madhwaraj.