In a first of sorts, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), a statutory animal welfare organisation, has won a case against a pet shop owner for illegal possession of exotic species. This sends out the message that those dealing with exotic species in the city will no longer go scot free.

T. Thiyagarajan, Secretary, SPCA, told The Hindu that on March 24, an animal welfare activist informed them that a cotton tuft-eared Marmoset (a primate) and a blue and yellow South America Macaw (a large-sized parrot) were kept in a pet shop in Arumbakkam for sale. Following this, the organisation sent its inspectors and seized the two. The issue was then taken to a mobile court by the society.

The marmoset was doing badly when the SPCA authorities seized it. The animal was paralysed and had injuries on the tail.

At the mobile court, an advocate for the pet shop argued that it wanted to challenge the seizure. The court directed both petitioners to contest the case in the Fifth Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Egmore.

C. Umamaheswari, Magistrate, V Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Egmore, in her order, observed that the SPCA had the right to protect exotic species found in the country. Similarly, the court also accepted the SPCA’s argument that if the accused was allowed to provide treatment to the seized marmoset, it would affect the reputation of the SPCA. The court agreed to the SPCA’s suggestion that the marmoset and the macaw be handed over to the Vandalur zoo.