Animal activists demand arrest of 2 men alleged to have poisoned 20 dogs

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Animal welfare activists in Odisha have demanded the arrest of two men who allegedly poisoned more than 20 stray dogs nine days ago in Cuttack district of the state.

On June 19, Brahmananda Mallick (61) and his nephew Bharat Mallick (40) of Nahanga village under Bhaunria gram panchayat of Cuttack district allegedly poisoned over 20 stray dogs in the locality after one of the dogs allegedly bit their goat. They reportedly boiled the bark of strychnine tree, known for its poison, with goat and chicken meat and left the meat pieces at several places in the village to bait the dogs.

The carcasses of the dogs were later found by sarpanch of Bhaunria gram panchayat, Gagan Bihari Sethi and a few ward members on June 21. A neighbour of the accused revealed how the two men had cooked meat to kill the stray dogs. “He was upset over one of the stray dogs having bit his goat and wanted to kill the dogs,” said Sethi.

The local workers of the Biju Yuva Vahini, a voluntary organisation of the Biju Janata Dal, lodged a case with the Mahanga police station against the two under section 428, 429 (which lay out rules against animal cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code. However, the duo fled the village soon after a local veterinary surgeon visited the area and took a sample of the carcass to determine the kind of poison used.

Decrying the killing of dogs, Purabi Patra, animal welfare activist, alleged that police were going easy on the arrest of the two. “The way the dogs were poisoned, it seems to be the handiwork of sick minds. Unless one is sick and inhuman, one can’t poison so many dogs. But the police do not seem to be making any attempts at arresting them,” said Patra.

Similarly, Jiban Das of People For Animals too demanded a thorough investigation into the killing of the dogs. “Just because one stray dog had allegedly bitten a goat, how can one poison all the dogs in the area. Police should apply more stringent provisions of the IPC and arrest the uncle-nephew,” he said.

Ranjan Pradhan, inspector of Mahanga police station, said police are making all efforts to arrest the men. “We would surely arrest them. We would also apply stricter provisions once the lab report of the carcass indicating the kind of poison used is available,” said the inspector.

The strychnine is a thorny tree whose seeds and bark are toxic. However, toxic alkaloids may be found in the entire plant.

In April this year, there was similar outrage in Bhubaneswar after a pregnant stray dog was beaten up with a rod by a woman and a few others.

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