Updated: Feb 2
15th Jan 2020
Mr Kamal Pant
Subject : Animal Welfare Laws, Support and Implementation by Bangalore/Karnataka Police
We are extremely grateful to the compassion provided so far by our wonderful state police specially in the difficult times of Covid, when so many went out of their way to provide support & enable feeding of stranded animals particularly street dogs. We are proud of having one of the best police forces in the country, growing in stature under your leadership. On a city-wide level, we request your further attention and kind action on the issue of animal welfare, PCA & feeder & relocation. I can also request D Randeep Special Commissioner to discuss this as well as Dr Shivaram, Member Secy, SPCA. An online petition and several letters in the past have been shared.
We can collectively save precious police hours & wastage of resource by actioning these.
1. Situation so far- As of now state and city police is of course supportive all issues related to people and animal cruelty but from a structural point of view a lot more needs to be done. With all the other pressures and work faced by our police force, the dissemination, implementation and involvement as far as the PCA Act has been limited and does need to be dialled up. As per the AWBI circular sent on 14 Aug 2020 to all State Chief Secretaries and DGPs, it was specifically requested that a circular on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA )be sent to all police stations, to ensure police support the common man, lay person and animal lovers with assistance on cruelty issues including support on filing FIR’s, NCR’s, handle dog feeder issues and any area AOA or RWA conflicts. As of now that is not yet been done. There is also no awareness of GoK Circular on RWA/AOA & stray dog feeder rules, as well as the illegality of relocating/removing street dogs. While we do face concerns at cruelty or community confrontation, the biggest concern is a tremendous amount of back and forth, lack of clarity , complete waste of time & resources and unnecessary extension of issues because of lack of awareness of laws protection animals and clear focus on what needs to be done moving forward. If there is absolutely certainty and understanding of the laws, namely the following this would not happen at all. PCA, (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules, Stray Dog Management Rules 2001, etc)
2. Need of the hour - Wwithout doubt the most critical thing that can be done to implement the PCA and pre-empt protect and punish any cruelty to animals, is to involve an informed and supportive police force. With the setting up of the mandatory Karnataka Animal Welfare Board (KAWB) as well as 30 District SPCAs (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in Karnataka, it is absolutely critical that the police kindly follow the circular issued by the AWBI , so that at top level , training levels or at SHO or even constable level , there is clarity on the ambit of the laws and protection that animals and animal lovers have. (This is similar to the dissemination and training for noise pollution done last year). It is also equally important for them to know what are the issues regarding escalation and resolution. In a few extreme cases of cruelty, strong action is the need of the hour so as to serve as a deterrent to other potential criminals who might want to replicate it assuming that there is no punishment.
Another important issue that we need to keep in mind is with the draft law on the PCA increasing fines up to ₹75,000 (or 3 times the cost of the animal) and punishment up to 5 years , the police role becomes increasingly important whether it is in terms of arrest, in terms of making a report, reaching the magistrate, arresting the perpetrator, effectively dealing with the case and so on. Most times, a B report is filed and matter closed. Therefore a proper intervention at this point will indeed go very far.
3. Police Role - From a structural point of view it is mandated by that an ADGP level police officer should be on Managing and Executive Committee of the Karnataka State Animal Welfare Board (KAWB) and that the City Police Commissioner (or Superintendent of Police in case of District) is be on the board of the District SPCA as Vice Chairman. At this point there is no senior representation from the police force except in Bangalore Rural SPCA and this reduces the effectiveness of this board tremendously.
4. Implementation -In most other cities PCA is implemented 2-pronged system. The first is to call the police helpline 112 and give all the details and location of the case - at which point the police step up and action the cruelty - while in parallel. keeping the concerned Vet Officer and head of the districts SPCA posted for follow up and conclusion In cases of cruelty where there is coordination needed for post mortem, wound certificate etc it is expected that the police will coordinate with the district SPCA to make this happen in order to file a watertight FIR or NCR as the case may be. This is the system in most of the states and needed to be implemented here as well. So we can understand how critical info & training is!
5. Sensitization and Training - Clearly this is the most critical part of the entire initiative. Most of us as lay people and animal lovers are confused by the number and complexity of animal laws in our country. There is no question that we have some of the most effective, well rounded and well written laws for animals in our country as well as compassion for animals mandated in our constitution. However, there are a few factors that sometimes get in the way of taking this to a logical conclusion of penalty punishment and redressal. First the number of laws and its interplay, updates or customisation made by different states, the lack of knowledge, assumption that human preferences trumps animal rights, the fact that most animals are unable to speak for themselves or represent a case of cruelty without human intervention. So while sensitization and empathy on the issue is critical, training on the laws as well as its impact on day today work even working proactively with the community NGOs & SPCA is critical. Specific programs that have already been done in other states that can be easily made relevant for Bangalore and for Karnataka as well . Any help needed on this would be very gladly provided.
6. Vision and Success - The only way to do this and to move forward is taking pride in Bangalore as one of the most compassionate cities in the country in addition to being it's most empathetic on animals. This would to define what success looks like from the Police Department. By a few strong actions and jail terms, a strong message goes out that this will not be tolerated. We are confident that the Police Department under your able leadership and guidance will not only ensure that the above issues are taken care of and actioned but our beleaguered, hardworking and caring police force do everything they can swiftly and effectively , to ensure the laws of the land for animals and animal lovers are followed not just in the letter but truly in the spirit as well .
We look forward to be partners with you in this journey and ensuring that all the new laws, and any changes can be properly addressed and moved forward to achieve this collective vision of a principal stakeholder the police being the single largest contributor and leader in the ensuring success in prevention of animal cruelty in our city
Look forward to your support, action and confirmation at the earliest.
· Circular to all police stations on PCA , due process as per AWBI, as well as RWA/AOA Feeder rules
· Sensitization and training across the same. Perhaps start with a pilot at High Grounds Police Station
· Tech update in parallel to ensure 112 and Hoysala easily manage this
· As required by AWBI rules an ADGP level officer to KAWB, and ensure District Supdt of Police is Vice Chair of all 30 District SPCA. In Bangalore, the automatic Vice Chair is Police Commissioner or representative.
· Back up above efforts with communication program/social media. Police Website need to be updated.
· Working closely with animal NGOs and citizen groups to ensure effective and prompt assistance
· Induct retired senior level ADGP who is an animal lover as Honorary Head of this Cell.
· Ideally, a parallel system for animals like the excellent traffic warden structure can also greatly help.