Pawsome, an NGO of animal lovers, has rescued at least 20 dogs from falling victim to dog meat trade in Tripura. With their work resulting in six arrests, the NGO feels dog smuggling has slowed down here.
In 2016, the NGO started with an aim to look after stray dogs by providing them with food, first aid, sterilisation and rehabilitation where needed. “It is criminal to kill strays for food,” says Dutta, who received the Bhadra Award at ‘India for Animals’ in Hyderabad this October.
When he came back to the state after his studies in Bangalore, Dutta and a few friends started feeding dogs every Sunday. Soon they took it to the next level. Policemen would mock us when we went to register complaints of missing dogs, says Dutta.
Anumita Paul says it has taken hundreds of rescues and adoption for them to earn respect in the community. But others like Dibjyoti Deb and Amitabha Deb feel the NGO is running out of support and needs government-sponsored shelter houses.
West Tripura Sub Divisional Police Officer Suman Majumder said they had complaints of stray dog lifting from different localities in Agartala city and its suburbs.
“We recovered some stray dogs from vehicles while they were being transported. We detained some people during such searches and based on public complaints,” he said.
However, offences recognised under the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act are non-cognizable. So, usually, the detainees were released from the courts with some fine, the officer informed. Lifting street dogs are, however, not a regular practice, he said.
Dr Rajib Das, an animal husbandry officer with the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), says it is essential to control the stray dog population because of public health concerns. The doctor suggested large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and rehab-adoption.
Pitching for government shelters, Dutta says: “We have found hundreds of dogs with shards of broken glass, plastic, blades stuck inside their mouth. We temporarily keep them in our houses. But some permanent solution is needed.”