Why isn’t Nepal so pet friendly yet? What could be a solution?

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On a normal day in April 2021, Sneha Dhakal, a social influencer as well as animal lover, saw a TikTok video in which a cocker spaniel dog was chained to the roof of a house.

“This woman posted this video looking for help saving the dog. I then immediately contacted her as I couldn’t watch the dog like that.

Dhakal then reached Sitapaila from Kathmandu with the woman who posted the video in an attempt to save the animal. “We went to the family who owned this dog and talked, however, they were not cooperative.”

Side by side, the duo also spoke with neighbors, police and animal welfare organizations. “After talking to family and neighbors, I found out that the person who brought the dog to this family was gone. After his death, the dog was kept in a tin kennel on the roof, chained every day of the year, regardless of the weather, ”Dhakal shares.

Despite their continued efforts, the dog’s host has not changed at all. Whenever they or the police or any official in an organization visited the dog, they would pretend they were taking good care of the animal, but the reality was different. “Unfortunately, we were not able to change their mindset and behavior towards this dog. With a heavy heart, I had to return to Bhairahawa, my home, after the start of the second wave of the Covid pandemic- 19 ”, explains Dhakal.

Over the past few months, various such cases have been shared on social media and mainstream media platforms with photos and videos. In some cases a dog is chained to an electric pole and beaten to death and in others a cat inside a cattery is burned alive.

Although social media platforms are inundated with rage against such cruelty at different times, the problem has calmed down from now on and very rare discussions have taken place regarding animal rights. However, cases of animal cruelty have increased in recent years, warn animal lovers and animal welfare activists, adding that Nepalese society needs to be more aware to speak out against animal abuse.

Increase in cruelty or denunciation?

Shristi Singh Shrestha, vice president of Animal Nepal, says her organization has seen an increase in the number of animal cruelty cases in recent months, although it is not known whether violence is on the rise or so the tendency to report such cases.

Activists say this dog named Setu was murdered by a man in Kathmandu on Saturday, December 7, 2019. Photo: SPCA Nepal / Facebook

“There have also been many cases of animal cruelty in the past. But, with the heavy use of social media and growing awareness of animal rights, it is quite possible that his reports have increased more significantly than cases. “

In addition, after the adoption of the new Penal Code in 2017, many people realized that there is an animal and bird law, she said.

But, Dhakal, who takes care of around 12 street dogs by providing shelter, food and medical aid herself, believes that many people are not sensitive to animals even today. .

Dhakal, who lives in Bhairahawa, shares: “On my way to my office every day I see an injured dog. Almost every day, a dog is struck by a bicycle or other vehicle and its legs and other body parts are fractured. And, no one really cares about them.

Responsibility of the livestock industry

While street dogs and other animals still live in trouble, the tendency to keep purebred dogs for commercial purposes or as a status symbol is also increasing day by day, adding to the cruelty of people. animals.

According to Shrestha, every time someone brings a pet home, they should also treat pets as part of their family and recognize that they need just as much care, love and love. be careful with other family members. They shouldn’t feel like they are the masters.

But, that is not what is really happening. Shrestha shares, “They love to keep dogs, but they don’t really like pets or dogs. They love them just for themselves, just for a status symbol.

Here, she points out that Nepal’s livestock industry is also responsible for the problem. “They bring and sell a dog or any other pet as per demand. But, whoever buys the animal must recognize what type of dog or cat it is and their characteristics, in what climatic conditions they are accustomed and many others.

“Based on our research, there is currently a huge demand for Siberian huskies in Kathmandu. This breed is used to cold places because it has a thick double coat, ”she continues,“ However, without recognizing it, the breeding industry sells huskies in Kathmandu, which of course is not a cold place. or snowy.

A Siberian husky. Photo: Pixabay

According to her, when there is a demand for these breeds, breeders will bring the dogs regardless of breed requirements. “How they keep them is beyond our comprehension. Even large breeders keep hundreds of dogs in the worst conditions because there is no oversight and guidelines in the breeding industries. There is also no provision of a license in this industry. Anyone can raise and sell pets, mainly dogs, ”according to Shrestha.

On the other hand, Suresh Shah, general manager of the Mount Everest Kennel Club, believes that Nepal is “naturally blessed” for all kinds of breeds and herds. Yet he admits that the industry has problems: “Yes, there are no guidelines or oversight authority set by the government for the livestock industry, but that does not mean that this industry contributes to the animal cruelty. ”

In addition, he claims that breeders keep dogs or any other pets with great care and attention as they are the source of their income. Still. he also mentions that some of the few breeders may not provide proper care to the animals due to lack of knowledge.

But, Shrestha complains that many purebred dogs are later abandoned when they are not sold or when they age or experience health issues. And, about 70 percent of them die after being abandoned because they are so dependent on humans. They don’t even know how to cross the streets; finding food is a crazy thing for them, she adds.

Many pet owners don’t think of owning a pet responsibly. Some keep pets as a status symbol while others do so for business purposes. But, they don’t care properly, share both Shrestha and Dhakal.

Face the difficulty

In order to end the brutality against animals, Shrestha suggests that the laws be stricter first. Cruelty to animals should be considered a serious crime. Second, all police officers should be educated about animal laws.

A street dog being treated. Courtesy: Animal Nepal

Further, she adds, “Even though they are familiar with the laws, some of them are reluctant to register the case because the level of awareness and seriousness towards this law is generally not seen in many. of them.”

Until police officials record and seriously investigate the cases, the cruelty will not stop as they believe they would get away with it easily, according to Dhakal and Shrestha.

The third is awareness, shares Shrestha. “More people need to speak up. If you see a dog or any other animal being tortured, you shouldn’t wait for help from some other organization, you should stand up against it and try to stop it.

Because animal welfare organizations also have limited resources and time and are already overwhelmed with many such cases, the public has to deal with many cases on a daily basis, they say.


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