Assam police to book people for abandoning animals over coronavirus fears

Guwahati- The Assam police has issued anorder to district police chiefs to ensure that action is takenagainst people abandoning their animal companions overCOVID-19 fears and against pet shop owners who left animalsunfed in locked shops, a police officer said on Tuesday.

The state police headquarters issued the order to the Guwahati city commissioner of police and all superintendentsof police following a letter from the People for the EthicalTreatment of Animals (PETA) India to the Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta.

PETA India Emergency Response Team’s associate managerMeet Ashari in a press release on Tuesday said, “We thank theAssam police for directing its officials to ensure that thosewho treat animals cruelly during the COVID-19 crisis arebooked under the stringent provisions of the law.

“Breeders and pet shops sell animals to anyone willingto buy them often on a whim no matter their ability tocare for them. And now, there’s concern that both pet shopsand the people who buy animals from them are neglecting orabandoning animals in their care.”According to the Indian Veterinarian Association,the current spread of COVID-19 is a result of human-to-humantransmission, Ashari said.

“Till date, there is no evidence that companionanimals spread the disease. Therefore, there is nojustification in taking measures against companion animalswhich may compromise their welfare,” the release said.    In its letter, PETA India pointed out that the AnimalWelfare Board of India (AWBI) had in its March 11 advisoryacknowledged that some people were abandoning their pets onthe streets without food and water and urged law-enforcementauthorities of the states and union territories to take actionagainst such offences.

In another advisory on March 23, the AWBI requestedthe law-enforcement authorities to ensure that no animalssuffer from hunger during the lockdown due to coronavirusoutbreak.The following day it also advised that districtauthorities must search pet shops in case animals are lockedinside without adequate food, water, and ventilation andrescue such animals when necessary. PTI 

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