#PunekarAppeals: Making Some Headway in the Case of Animal Abusers

A few hundred metres into my commute to work this morning, ignorance and a smartphone demanded that I slam the brakes and say a prayer. Undoubtedly, there are times when I too, am guilty of ignorance. Further, if accused of smartphone usage, I wouldn’t deny the claims too vehemently. This, however, wasn’t one such instance.

This incident involved our regular Tom or Harry crossing the road, eyes glued to a screen that spanned further than his civic sense. Oblivious of the birds that flipped, fingers that waved and swear words that were hurled at his very-fortunate-to-be-alive self, our man continued to cross the road with the authority of someone who paid taxes. Having reached the other side with his limbs miraculously intact, he decided to use them to throw a stone at a dog that was minding her own business and not causing commuters hypertension, which was far more than could be said of him.

This only compounded my road rage. However, as mentioned before, I can be found guilty of ignorance and so, muttering some profanities and telling myself what was done was done (a pathetic excuse, admittedly), I continued on my path to work. Such is life.

Nevertheless, as also mentioned before, I am sometimes guilty of smartphone usage, and this made me think of something, or rather someone I saw on my smartphone not too long ago.

He could be described as a medical student, he could be described as a man, he could be described as an Indian. I could describe him better but I cannot seem to recall his name and my editor politely refuses to publish my outbursts of profanity. For the sake of this article, however, I will give this man a name. Let’s call him Dick (uh, Richard).

I’m sure you all had your blood pressure spike when you saw Dick throwing a dog off a terrace this past week. One headline read “An FIR was registered against them on Tuesday under provisions of IPC and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act”. Hot on its heels came the news- “Quickie bail for Chennai dog abusers”.

I’m not going to pretend to understand a dog’s pain when subjected to such inhumane cruelty because I can speak for myself. I’m not going to pretend to understand the sentiments of someone who counts a pet amongst their family. I’ve never had a pet for fear of the affection I may feel and the pain I know I will upon its passing. I will, however, express my anger the best way I know how and I hope you do, too.

Fines, jail time and bail-induced loans won’t break his bones but getting thrown off a terrace will really hurt.

AnimalInsideAs regressive as it may sound, I am of the firm belief that several Acts and laws in our great city/state/nation are begging for attention and the renewed ability to instill fear in offenders. Fines that cause an incurrence of losses that could otherwise only be spent on vada-pav and less time spent behind bars than it takes to throw a stone are, unfortunately, not the way forward. An incident of cruelty to animals rarely has the ability to hold the public’s attention for too long. I suspect if an equally ruthless example is made of an offender, we’d make some headway.

This is me appealing to you, fine reader. If you have the power and the knowhow, let’s get the ball rolling from here. A petition, perhaps?

A few minutes later, not after the anger wore away, I found myself at the junction before my workplace in Koregaon Park. The junction was populated by vehicles, a few people and a stray dog. Well before my bike passed, the dog looked left, then right, and crossed the road. Such is life.