Juveniles Filmed Burning Puppies Arrested; Will it Help?

Following social media outrage on a video of a group of teenagers burning three two-month old puppies creates outrage, the Hyderabad police, following a complaint from Humane Society International/India, arrested a group of eight teenagers for burning alive a litter of three puppies in the Musheerabad area.

The accused, all said to be under 18 years of age, are seen in a video circulated on social media, carrying three puppies, approximately two months old, by their hind legs in the premises of a graveyard and burning them alive under a pile of dried branches, sticks and jute sacks. The puppies are seen struggling to escape while the culprits push them back and hold them down under the burning fire using poles.

The arrest was made after Shreya Paropkari, cruelty response manager for HSI/India, and Vasanthi Vadi of People for Animals Hyderabad, met with the commissioner of Hyderabad police on Tuesday and presented the electronic evidence in the form of the video before registering an FIR in the jurisdictional police station against the horrendous crime. The accused persons will now be produced before a judicial magistrate before being sent to the Juvenile Justice Board for investigation and charging.

N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India said; “We are thankful to the Musheerabad police for the swift action on this case. We hope that the Juvenile Justice Board takes swift and stern action for this inexplicable violence against defenceless puppies.”

He has rightly pointed out that a psychiatric evaluation should also be made. There is abundant research demonstrating that violence towards animals by children can be an indicator of other abused and potentially a predictor of serious anti–social behaviour in adulthood including criminal offenses and violence towards women and children. He added in agony, “As an animal welfare advocate and as a parent, it breaks my heart to see the suffering that the animals have gone through and the possible violent history that the youngsters must have had to deal with to resort to this kind of action”.

Earlier, a case of a dog being thrown of a terrace by medical students in Chennai and a host of animal cruelty cases across the country including serial killing of dogs in Delhi, a bestiality case in Kerala and a case of puppy killing in Bengaluru were reported, all pointing out at a violent turn of society in the future lacking basic traits of compassion, love and co-existence with nature.

In most cases, the accused are able to get away with paying a meagre fine of Rs 50, the maximum penalty prescribed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Rs 50 was the penalty for animal cruelty in the year 1960 when the law was enacted. In that age, Rs 50 had a certain value.

Today, however, the value of Rs 50 is negligible. It is surprising that the Government of India did not even bother to change it in the last 55 years. The #NoMore50 campaign aims to revise the penalties for animal cruelty to amounts relevant to this day and age. It is a tragedy for this country that animal cruelty is not taken as seriously as it should be.

The penalty for killing an animal, and in this case, several animals in this horrific manner, is less than hiring an auto rickshaw to the court to attend the trial. It’s time we study and understand the importance of violent behaviour towards animals in children and the domino effect it could have in other forms of violence.

The increase in the number of animal abuse incidents in the recent past has put the spotlight on the pressing need to strengthen animal laws in the country. HSI/India and PFA’s #NoMore50 campaign has seen unprecedented support from celebrities and members of Parliament alike.

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