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COVID-19: Assam police to book pet deserters after PETA India plea

A man feeds biscuits to animals during a nationwide lockdown, in Guwahati. File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Assam police headquarters has issued an order to all the police heads of districts seeking action against people abandoning their animal companions over “unwarranted COVID-19 fears” and against pet shop owners who let animals suffer in locked shops.

This followed a letter from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India to State’s Director-General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta as well as a series of advice by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

Also read: Coronavirus | Truth about cats, dogs and COVID-19

“Breeders and pet shops sell animals to anyone willing to buy them – often on a whim – no matter their ability to care for them. And now, there’s concern that both pet shops and the people who buy animals from them are neglecting or abandoning animals in their care,” said Meet Ashar, associate manager of PETA India’s Emergency Response Team.

“We thank the Assam police for directing its officials to ensure that those who treat animals cruelly during the COVID-19 crisis are booked under the stringent provisions of the law,” he added.

According to the Indian Veterinarian Association, the current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-human transmission. “To date, there is no evidence that companion animals spread the disease. Therefore, there is no justification in taking measures against companion animals which may compromise their welfare,” it said.

Also read: Feeding animals in the time of COVID-19

In its letter, PETA India pointed out that the AWBI had, in a March 11 advisory, acknowledged that some people were abandoning their animal companions on the streets without food and water and urged law-enforcement authorities of the States and Union Territories to take action against such offences.

In another advisory on March 23, the AWBI requested that law-enforcement authorities to ensure that no animals suffer from hunger during the lockdown. The following day, it also advised that district authorities to search pet shops in case animals were locked inside without adequate food, water, and ventilation and rescue such animals when necessary.

Under Sections 3 and 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, failure in providing an animal with sufficient food, water, or shelter or abandoning an animal to suffer from hunger and thirst is a punishable offence.

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 6:46:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/covid-19-assam-police-to-book-pet-deserters-after-peta-india-plea/article31563641.ece

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