Animal cruelty rampant, authorities decry lack of law to bring culprits to book

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Recently, Khaire, a dog, was beaten to death in Dhulikhel with an iron rod by two locals tying it to a utility pole. The video went viral on social media forcing many animal lovers and animal rights activists take to the streets against the unfortunate incident.

Talking about the killing of Khaire, Irfan Khan, founder and president of Paaila, an organization fighting for the rights of animals, said, “Even though we visited the incident site to gather information about the killing of the dog as the general public, the locals were not ready to speak anything and rather they misbehaved with us accused us of abusing children and thievery.

“We tried to talk to the killers of the dog but could not and police are also not serious about taking any action against them,” he added.

However, Spokesperson for District Police Office, Kavre, SSP Bhupendra Khatri said that the investigation into the incident was underway. SSP Bhupendra Khatri further said that they needed concrete evidence against the accused to bring them to book. “Till date, we have not even been able to recover the body of the dog,’ he informed.

Khaire’s case is just a representative case of animal cruelty; hundreds of videos of animal cruelty are there on social media.

When asked why police are not taking action against a local, who is seen as the main accused in the case, SSP Khatri said, “If any right activist has evidence against the local, he should report to police with the evidence. We cannot arrest anyone on the basis of rumors.”

Khaire’s case is just a representative case of animal cruelty; hundreds of videos of animal cruelty are there on social media. Such cases are on the rise, but authorities are least concerned. As per the data with Nepal Police, from July 16, 2020, to March 13, 2021, police took action against 105 people involved in animal abuse and cases have been file with the court against 52 persons.

Lax implementation of laws

According to Section 291 of the National Criminal Code, a person found guilty of a crime against animals is slapped with a jail term not exceeding one month or a fine up to Rs 5,000 or both.

Sneha Shrestha, president of the Federation of Animal Welfare, Nepal, believes that even though there are laws for the protection of animal rights, but they are not sufficient to promote animal rights. She also underscored the need of effective implementation of the existing laws.

She further said that the government must think about introducing Animal Welfare Act to protect animal rights.

Likewise, Kapil Kafle, executive director of Sneha’s Care, an organization working for animal rights, also agrees with Shrestha in regard to the need of introducing Animal Welfare Act, citing that the present laws are not enough to promote animal rights.

Meanwhile, many animal lovers and animal rights activists have urged the government to strictly enforce the laws to stop animal cruelty in the country and formulate new laws if required.