By Esha Chaudhuri
Even though our four-legged friends hold a sacred place in our hearts, especially for all animal lovers, reported incidents of animal cruelty have been monumental and are seeing an unprecedented increase over the years. In this week’s story, Shillong Sunday features stories from the city’s underworld as told by FurryTales, Shillong’s Happy Tails and Humans United For Animals and Nature (HUFAN), who raise the curtain on issues of torture and animal abuse.
Misconceptions and misconceptions about animals need to be debunked. In a relentless pursuit, organizations like FurryTales, Happy Tails, and HUFAN, all founded in 2020, strive to highlight animal injustices while bringing adoption and sponsorship campaigns by setting an example for others to follow suit through their work showcasing human qualities towards our furry friends.
What was a common revelation to all, however, was the quiet selling and buying of dog and cat meat.
Recounting an incident, HUFAN Chairman Zain Nongrum said, “On September 27, 2020, our team received reports that some people were consuming dog meat in Happy Valley, Shillong. As a result, the team reacted and went to the site to verify. Arriving at the scene, we saw before our own eyes the mutilated, burned and tortured corpse of a dog. The sight of such horror is unbearable for any living thing. Information was provided to the police for further investigation, after which it was discovered that there are several slaughterhouses in the area where evidence of the commission of such acts was seen by our volunteers. HUFAN members then engaged with those involved, informing them of the consequences of their actions and even received assurances from them that they would not engage in such acts again.
Similarly, FurryTales co-founder Diangtihun Kharkongor also informs, “There was this case of a Kalu who had almost fallen victim to the dog meat trade. Its owners had been extremely unreasonable and were unwilling to negotiate terms. If it hadn’t been for the quick actions of the members who woke up as early as five in the morning to save him, he would have been left to eat meat.
Expressing her disappointment, Shillong Happy Tails co-founder Vanisha Lyngdoh said, “ It is truly sad to say that the dog meat trade is rampant in our state, where we as a team have encountered people caught selling and buying dog meat. There were even instances where the dogs were trounded up from our state to another for the same purpose.
Vanisha’s other co-founder and sister, Sheetal Wahlang, says, “Our team has been running awareness campaigns to educate people about animal cruelty laws and the illegal dog meat trade. Insisting on heavy-handed intervention, Wahlang says: “It can be disheartening because despite our efforts, cases of the dog meat trade are still ongoing in the state. Culling stray animals, such as dogs, is not the right way to curb the increase in their population. Municipal bodies should be responsible for carrying out sterilization campaigns and obtaining a permanent solution to the increase in the number of wanderers in the city.
Agreeing with Kharkongor, Nongrum adds: “The consumption of cat and dog meat is associated with several superstitions and we do our best to educate people so that on behalf of beliefs, defenseless animals are neither killed nor eaten. Besides the remarkable work of HUFAN, they also raise awareness of the notion of pain which is universally felt on all living beings in order to deter people from harming them.
Not limiting himself to the meat trade alone and taking note of other forms of atrocities, Kharkongor observes: “The case of a dog named Mojo was one of extreme ignorance and negligence on the part of the owners. . Mojo had grown bound by a chain for
thirteen years. He had become very aggressive and dangerous and when he obviously bit people the owners threatened to kill him or give him away. This was followed by a rescue operation, but the emotional trauma of interacting with humans continues to linger in Mojo, making it difficult for FurryTales to find him a home. Kharkongkor surmises: “The owners’ reckless actions have left the team with a strong urge to educate pet owners. of on the severity of the sentence imposed if they are found guilty of
abuse their pets.
Citing another case of intentional abuse, Kharkongor shares: “In a more recent and perhaps most appalling case, there was a case in Rynjah where we received a call about a trapped dog. The dog itself was stray. What was most disgusting in this specific case, the people who came to capture the dog posed as members of an NGO and deceived neighbors and owners by saying that they were going to help the dogs by relocating them. They instead trapped the poor dog with a steel wire tied
around his neck, strangling the poor creature. The worst part is that they had managed to remove four other dogs before we intervened. We couldn’t catch the culprits but we were able to save the dog.
Commenting, Lyngdoh said, “Ininflicting brutality on helpless beings is only the result of a regressive mindset or a lack of education. Additionally, due to weak laws, attacks on innocent animals have more than doubled in recent years. »
Debunk myths and superstitions
A way of life where assumed hierarchies reproduce the everyday values of people’s lives and extend these values to the animal kingdom needs a massive overhaul. Often intentional acts of cruelty are appendages of our preconceived notions and orchestrated under the microscope by age-old superstitions using them as bargaining chips to inflict pain and torture on many four-legged beings.
On behalf of FurryTales, Kharkongor explains the common misjudgment on the issue of stray animals, “One A common superstitious belief that many hold is that street dogs are dangerous and should not be approached by them. This is a common misconception by those who have had a bad experience with street dogs. In our experience they only behave badly and become dangerous if they are mistreated and therefore it is very important to treat them well so that they too react accordingly, because in many cases of bites the Dogs do not bite out of spite, but out of fear.”
Highlighting another serious issue about sexual preference and discrimination, Kharkongor says,
“A misconception we’ve heard is that female dogs are dirtier than male dogs. This is not true. Male dogs and female dogs are the same except for the fact that female dogs give birth. If they are properly cared for and neutered on time, male and female dogs have no difference.For the benefit of all, as a community, FurryTales of Kharkongor encourages the public to adopt female dogs as well.
Reproduction versus adoption
It is the common notion that breeders do what they do solely on the basis of profit motives. The conscientious team leaders of these Shillong-based organizations unanimously agree that adoption is a conscious and sustainable choice, giving animals a greater chance of a happy life by freeing themselves from the clutches of breeders. Kharkongor says, “At FurryTales, we don’t support the idea of buying and selling dogs. We encourage adoption as a better choice, as we have repeatedly heard of breeders breeding dogs for profit. So far, we haven’t encountered any adopters adopting these animals with bad intentions. Overbreeding and abuse of these animals should be considered a punishable crime.
Additionally, Vanisha points out, “When you buy a dog from a pet store, you may be supporting a puppy mill. Many animals sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. These are mass breeding facilities that pack animals into cramped, filthy cages and breed female dogs over and over until they can’t have babies anymore. They are sold like commodities, kept in unsuitable conditions and abandoned or left to decay when they are no longer useful.
Thereby, “Adopt, Don’t Shop” has been the slogan of many animal activists for the same reason.
All hope is not lost
Like the balance of nature, while there are those who live happy lives of ignorance and apathy, there are also good Samaritans who believe in righteous deeds. An example of this is the work of the Jiva team and the Stray Animal Rescue Society, Shillong (SARS) who feed stray animals, especially dogs on the streets.. “We feed the street dogs at night because we feel sorry for them. We don’t want them to go to sleep hungry,” says Managing Director of Jiva Hospitality of India Limited, Jiwat Vaswani. The Jiva team has been a proactive a to beautify the town of Shillong as well as to implement other socially responsible cleaning and greening projects in Shillong.
In the same way, SARS, existing since 2016, was dedicated on towards animal cruelty issues such as the dog meat trade, cases of and abandonment, accidents, as well as sterilization and adoption of the stray puppies. They, too, started a food drive during COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. “During both lockdowns we fed around 50 dogs from different locations in Shillong from the online donations from our patrons and other animal lovers on lineshares Tee Mawlong, co-founder of Stray Animal Rescue Society, Shillong.
Shedding light on the food supply and distribution process, Mawlong says, “Our members
We would buy rice and meat and we would cook in our homes, after which one of the group members would sponsor a vehicle and then we would go to different places. We would use disposable papers to feed them and wait for them to finish and then clean up.
Even though with the lifting of the lockdowns, SARS stopped feeding stray animals on the streets primarily because grocery stores and meat vendors distribute leftovers, it continues its other animal welfare projects.
In a struggle to make the world a friendlier place by treating stray animals, including dogs and cats, as part of society, Mahatma Gandhi’s words resonate immensely when he declared that “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way his animals are treated. ”