Investigation, photo’s and text by Naina Athale (VoSD Board member, IDA Managing Committee member, co-opted member of AWBI, FIAPO Governing Board member). Titles and photo captioning by Rakesh Shukla
On 3 July 2012, at 6:27pm, I received a call from Mrs. Shakuntala Mazumdar of Thane SPCA , informing that she had a call from an unknown person who informed her that several dogs were howling and seemed to be on the first floor of a godown (warehouse) inside Gate No.4, Dana bazaar, APMC Market.
I reached there approximately around 6:45pm . Mr. Shrikant Raskar, an animal lover living in Kopar Khairne, had also reached there on his own at the same time. Two people were standing out side the godown and said that they were the employees of a kennel and that they were under contract to provide security to the APMC market, and that there were indeed dogs inside that were tied up on top from sunrise to sunset and after 7pm were brought down for security.
Together, Mr. Shrikant, I and the two employees, we went up to the first floor of the godown where we could hear the dogs bark. What we saw was as follows:
- The place was absolutely filthy and stinking; there was dog stools and urine everywhere.
- There was some rotted food in bowls, and plastic and some pedigree in bowls.
- There were a few bowls of dirty water.
- All dogs were tied on short leashes, some with rope, and were sitting in water and their own urine. To our shock and surprise, there were ; Labradors, Rottweilers, Doberman, Boxers and German Shepherds and two pups, possible mix breed.
- It was pitch dark and on insisting, one man joined two wires together to start a bulb and one lone tube-light. (Some of the photographs that we took were taken deliberately without a flash to show the situation better.)
- There were approximately 24 high pedigree dogs in all, tied all around at window grills, closed gala doors etc.
- There was no other electricity.
- There were open wires hanging dangerously about the place.
- There were no fans, and the heat was bad and de-energizing.
- There were no taps for running water and there was dirty water stored in small drums.
- There were no gutters for drainage.
- The dogs had left their food as it was dirty and stale and completely unpalatable. In any case, the dogs seemed ill, and depressed.
- There were huge, fat rodents roaming freely around the dogs and eating from their bows and also jumping on the dogs, and enormous roaches.
Is this truly ‘security’? Security for whom? Are the dogs being exploited for any other purpose, such as unlawful breeding, is a question coming up in my mind. In any case, whatever is occurring is an obvious violation of animal welfare laws and principles, and I have lodged a case with the concerned police station, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and the Indian Penal Code.
On a personal note:
1) I did not sleep the entire night of the 3rd, and barely on the 4th. Being human, I went into panic mode thinking of the risks I & Shrikant took so causally..walking up the pitch dark staircase to the first floor using the light from our mobiles, the open wires hanging and water all around, vile drug addicts and alcoholics handing around in the filth on the ground floor…the large roaches and rodents all around….the abusive staff…anything could have happened, just about anything.. I have to thank the young man Shrikant for being so brave and being with me since then through it all…and my dear friend Anjali Sharma whom I kept calling up for guidance and sanity…
2) Again, it has shook me about human behavior and motivation and has taken away another little bit of my soul..I wonder how much of that soul will be left in a few years, because nowadays, it does not even get replaced.