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Now you too can protect the lives of abused animals by reporting it to the right authorities

26 Jun 2015 | by Anoopa Anand | Posted in: Wag Wiki


It's time to address a pretty serious issue, one which is becoming increasingly popular in animal welfare circles: vigilante justice. Increasingly, people are publicly reporting cases of chained dogs, dogs left out in the heat, dogs that are neglected, underfed, and generally not taken care of. Further, individuals are taking it upon themselves to approach such households and freely dispense judgement, information, advice. Don't get me wrong; I've done it, too. And faced dire consequences. Here's the logic: 

  • People who bully animals will bully people too, and vice versa. 
  • Pet animals are considered both commodity and property in this country, and the language of ownership - "I am the owner of this dog", "I am the master", etc. - are taken very seriously. In the minds of people who commoditise animals, in the same way as you wouldn't tell them how to wear their watch or clean their car, you can't get through to them about how to take care of an animal.
  • However well-intentioned you are, you're considered a snoop. No one likes nosy people. Especially not aforementioned bullies.

What you can do?

If you find that an animal is being abused, ill-treated, neglected, tied up, underfed, or all of the above: 

  • Please document the evidence through photographs or videos.
  • Do not approach the perpetrator yourself. Approach an animal welfare organisation or officer, who has more authority to address the issue that a common man. Ask your local Animal Welfare Organisation for details of a card-holding officer, who can take up this issue formally with the perpetrator.
  • Share the documented evidence with said AWO, so that there is adequate ammunition before the perpetrator is questioned.
  • Especially if the perpetrator is a neighbour, do not take matters into your own hands. You're likely to put yourself, your family, and your home in danger. Key word: bullies.
  • Once you've approached the AWO, PLEASE allow them time to handle the matter themselves. If something ghastly happens, think of all the other animal rescues that will go unnoticed because you're out of the picture. No exaggeration; it’s been known to happen.
  • Please be careful about sharing such stories with the media before any legal action has been taken against the perpetrator. If I had to stalk more than 50% of my timeline and create a news story about how they dispose of their garbage, I'll be dead in seconds. Our crimes may be different, but the consequences for vigilante-ism are the same.

Much as we hate to admit it, there are no superheroes. No one is exempt from revenge and retaliation. You’re better off being careful, using formal channels of help, staying alive, and being useful to more animals in the long run.  

Image courtesy: iPost.com

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