Move over road rage, enter pet rage! Pets, instead of soothing the mind, seem to have turned Delhi even more violent. Over the last year, this has reached extreme levels with fights breaking out, death threats issued and even murders committed.
Last Sunday, a 30-year-old man was shot dead by the owner of a dog for allegedly hurling stones at his pet in North East Delhi’s Welcome colony. In October last year, a tempo driver was stabbed to death as his vehicle brushed against a pet dog in Delhi’s Uttam Nagar area.
The family members of the deceased claimed that the pet-owner dragged the tempo driver and his brother from outside their house, took them to the site where the dog was hit, and stabbed them.
“On an average, we get more than three to four complaints calls at the police control room,” officials said. All these calls related to incidents where the owners have attacked either neighbors or other people for troubling their pets or raising any objection against the animal’s presence,” they said.
In December 2018, two calls related to pet rage were reported from Rajouri Garden and Punjabi Bagh area. In both the incidents, the owners indulged in a physical altercation with their neighbors who were asking them to either change the house or get rid of the pet.
“A similar incident was reported in Mehrauli area last year. A man got so irritated by his neighbor’s dog peeing on his vehicle all the time that one day he left a naked electricity wire near the vehicle to electrocute the pet. However, the pet-owner noticed the wire. What ensued was a verbal duel that turned into a fistfight. Both the pet-owner and the neighbor received multiple injuries,” a police official said.
The pet-owner wanted to file a complaint under the section of attempt-to-murder (of his pet dog), whereas the neighbor wanted to file a complaint of physical assault by the owner.
“In most of the pet rage incidents, the matter is resolved on the spot after the intervention of the police. Therefore, these calls don’t get converted into FIRs,” the police said.
“Owners treat their pet animals as their family members. So, if someone hurts them or takes a stand against them, it makes the owner aggressive. Out of sudden rage, the owner attacks,” said Madhur Verma, Delhi Police spokesperson.
Animal-lovers, however, blame humans for breaching into animal spaces. “Dog is man’s best friend and it protects the family with whom it stays and also the territory where he resides in. Whenever a person tries to break those boundaries, the dog reacts by barking or biting the suspect. Further, the suspect might also retaliate by pelting stones on the dog or hitting it with some object. If this comes to the owner’s notice, to protect the dog who is his family member, he too attacks the suspect,” said Vikram Kochhar, District Animal Welfare Officer (North-West).
Rajiv Mehta, the vice-chairman of the psychiatric department in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “Possessiveness towards the pet and lack of patience are the other factors encouraging such incidents.”