Note: For those who may not know CUPA is Compassion Unlimited Plus Action. No kidding. This article is a study of CUPA’s method of capturing dogs for ABC programs in Bangalore. This is the only method they practice and it is practiced daily, and has been practiced daily for the last 10+ years. No other ABC Center in Bangalore practices this method. Free classes available every morning at CUPA vans 6 days a week.
Disclaimer: The use of the word ‘bitch’ is not meant as derogatory but only for its shock value in the context of a female dog. The author has 15 dogs of which 13 are females and they are never called that, by him or anyone around him. The report has a (1) video of the capture (2) a detailed still photo gallery (3) an insight into the rules governing dog capture and (4) the perspective of people who understand or are involved directly and indirectly including from CUPA and BBMP. Please read the article in full before forming your opinion.
Watch the video: The bloodied face of dogs because people do not want to learn!
‘The Voice of Stray Dogs’ followed a CUPA dog catching van to bring you this report. For all the great work CUPA would be doing, there seems to be no reason why EACH dog they capture – has to go through this torture. The reasons are lame and range from management inertia to the inertia of the handlers – but any which way all dogs suffer.
What was different about the CUPA catchers was clearly they were old timers, very efficient, very professional. The ‘manager’ on duty was courteous with people he interacted, made sure he showed a pamphlet that explained that the dog will be neutered and brought back. The driver clearly knows the lay of the land, then handlers work with a calm confidence unlike any we’ve seen with another AWO, and know what they’re doing. Except what they’re doing is brutal and terribly wrong. But is it?
What does the ‘law’ say?
The Prevention of Cruelty Animals Act,1960, Section 11 (1) (a) to (o) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 prescribes and enumerates the forms of cruelty mentioned here under the act. Sect 11(1) describes (a) Beating, Kicking, Over-riding, Over-driving, Over-loading, Torturing,Causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals as cruelty. Such cruelty is as non-cognizable offence. Section 11(1)(l) describes mutilation for any animal or killing of any animal (including stray dogs) by using the method of strychnine injections in the heart or in any other unnecessarily cruel manner.
Rule 7(4) of the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001, says “The dogs shall be captured by using humane methods such as lassoing or soft-loop animal catchers such as those prescribed under the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty (Capture of Animals) Rules, 1979”.
However Rule 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty (Capture of Animals) Rules, 1972 says “No animal shall be captured for the purpose of sale, export or for any other purpose except by sack and loop method. Provided that an animal which cannot be captured by reason of its size, nature or other condition or circumstance by the sack and loop method, may be captured with the help of tranquiliser guns or by any other method which renders the animal insensible to pain before capture.”
An animal is said to be captured by the sack and loop method if in its capture the following contrivance is used, namely, a strong canvass in the form of sack, not less than 92 cms. in length and 138 cms in diameter, which has a smooth rope, not less than 5.5 meter in length passing through ten or more rings of not less than 4 cms. in diameter each attached at the open end, thus forming a loop, the sack having small holes at convenient places to enable the animal to breathe during captivity, and the animal is captured by the sack being thrown on it and secured by having the loop pulled.
What do the stakeholders in animal welfare say?
We contacted Ms Suparna Ganguly (Hon. President, CUPA) asking her about the reason why the steel lasso’s are used, exclusively by CUPA, when all other AWO’s in Bangalore use the butterfly net. Here is what she had to say “CUPA faces practical limitations which others may not. Having been in the ABC programme from the 1990s, many of the dogcatchers have been with CUPA from 6-8 or more years. Before nets came into the picture, they had been using lasso’s. We sent 3 batches for training to WVS in Ooty, got nets from Porbander, metallic rims from Chennai. The boys declined saying they were finding it heavy and difficult to catch. We also sent them for training to Sarvodaya. The other (AWO) teams are Nepalese boys who have been freshly trained. Our boys are unable to either integrate with them or catch on their own. We are putting great pressure on them and hoping they are able to be re-trained, which is always more difficult than freshly training them. It is not the best for the dogs, but since we can’t send the whole lot of catchers together for training, we hope to change soon after a few more training sessions in Ooty, by which time all would have been trained.”
It is noteworthy that CUPA has been using only this method and has not changed its method even after being trained. Our investigation also revealed that Ms Ganguly did not know, till we requested for a response that CUPA employees had actually been trained.
When asked, the CUPA dog catchers see nothing wrong and inhumane about this method. The feel it is more ‘efficient’ & easier on they since the ‘nets are heavy and we do not want to carry heavy nets’. Also off the record CUPA managers say ‘this is a management decision, if the boys get trained or are made to use nets they will ask for more salaries’.
When contacted Dr.P.A.Piran. S.A., Jt.Dir (Animal Husbandry department) BBMP Head Office said, “Using a lasso was an acceptable practice till the advent of net method of catching. Lasso’s cause unnecessary pain and suffering and thus violates Prevention of Srucllties Act of 1960. It is a painful experience for the animal to go through. It is not more efficient than the butterfly net method”. He further feels there is no problem in any existing catchers being trained and made to follow the butterfly net method.
Clearly the dogs of Bangalore have many things to worry about, and many a time it’s muddled on who’re friends and who’s not.