In pursuit of a dog killer

The shocking instances of puppies being poisoned or stabbed in Dwarka point to the possibility of a psychopath killing more strays or even attacking humans

“When I saw those puppies lying on the floor with their throats slit. I can’t describe that moment in words. I felt like harming the person who did it in the same way,” says Hema Meel, 45, a resident of Kargil Apartments in Dwarka.

In a span of precisely a week, three cases have come up where 13 dogs have been subjected to gruesome attacks. While seven were stabbed and their throats slit with, the other six dogs in Sector 19, Dwarka have been poisoned. While the police are still investigating these cases, Meel, a dog-lover who used to feed the puppies in Kargil Apartments described the whole incident.

On August 20, Monday, soon after Hema woke up, she was about to start cooking meals for the 60-70 dogs she feeds in and around the colony. Some children came knocking at her door between 6:30 and 7 am, and told her that the puppies are lying dead on the floor in front of the community centre.

She rushed immediately to the spot, crying all the way, remembering how she had fed them the previous evening. After reaching the spot, she looks at the horrific site of the seven puppies placed on the floor in a straight line within a distance of four feet from each other.

A number of residents of the 410 houses in the society gathered at the site. After a while, someone from the crowd proposed calling the sweeper, asking him to dig up the ground and bury the puppies, before the whole area starting smelling.

While others in the crowd tried to put the blame on other animals, saying only an animal could have done something so horrible, she felt it was a planned murder. I rejected their idea and told them I’ve already called up the police and they’re coming,” Hema says. She did not want to repeat the mistake of not informing the police about this, like she did a month ago, when in Madhu Vihar, somebody poured acid on a dog. At that time, Hema called an ambulance, thinking she could say the dog, but it died after a week. This time, she wanted to make sure the police came into the picture.

Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 makes killing of strays a punishable offence but the fine is only Rs 50 with no jail terms. For pet dogs, the jail term can go upto five years, depending on its market price. Parliament is expected to elevate rights of animals to the level of Constitutional rights, as has been done in many countries around the world. The Supreme Court had in 2014 given a judgement on behalf of these voiceless beings.

Some members of the Dwarka Animal Lover Group, a WhatsApp group of people living in different societies in Dwarka, also reached the spot. After an hour, the police reached and wanted to check the CCTV footage, but found no evidence. “No CCTV cameras are installed by the society management and during the night one could barely see anything near the community centre,” added Hema.

The police soon took pictures of the spot, and took the puppies to an isolated place to bury them. Hema and others went along, but weren’t allowed to see the post-mortem being done by a veterinarian. They reached home at 7, and tried to come to terms with the whole chaos of the morning.

Two days after the incident, when the residents of Kargil Apartments were sleeping peacefully, three more puppies were found dead. Rajinder Singh, the ACP of Dwarka, spoke to Patriot and explained the cases. He says, “Three of the puppies which were found earlier were poisoned. But four puppies’ deaths are still under investigation and we’re waiting for the reports to come.”

ACP Singh also suspects that the latest case of these four puppies could be of a natural death, but they will be able to confirm once the reports from the laboratory comes. He says in the case of Kargil Apartments, the police have suspected that the incident happened between 2 and 4 am.

“Whatever little amount of footage we got some movement near the gate between the early hours of morning. Though we’re still interrogating the watchman and doodhwalhas.” ACP Singh added.

When Patriot visited the Akshardham Apartments, a few residents were not aware of these incidents.

Abida, a resident of the society was shocked to the core when she was informed about these incidents.

“Who would do that to little puppies? I cannot understand why would someone kill puppies,” added Abida.

Manju, another resident of Akshardham Apartments, was shocked too when informed about the incident in her own society. “A lot of people here don’t like dogs. But I don’t know who could do it,” says Manju.

Asha, who interacted with the police in the morning, knew just about the three puppies but not the other four found recently. Another passerby acted like he knew nothing about the dogs.

Toshi, who regularly feeds dogs of the society says, “Only a few people of the society actually like dogs and feed them. The rest are busy in their lives.” She says it could be just about anyone who may have poisoned the dogs. She hopes the investigation brings strong evidence.

ACP Singh says the dogs are still in critical condition, while their intestines are under probe to recover some material which could be further investigated.

Animal rights organisation PETA also spoke to Patriot about the situation and affirmed that should the residents of both the societies need any help, they will be at the disposal.

Ashar, Emergency Response Coordinator of PETA, cited the case of a man from Kerala — Meerul Islam — who used to rape and kill dogs and goats before he was sentenced to death for raping and murdering a law student in the state.

Hema too worries that if somebody could do that to little puppies, he/she could also do that to the children of the colony someday. “The whole deed has been done by a psychopath only,” she remarks.

Talking about the current situation of the female dog in Kargil Apartments who she feeds daily, Hema says, “I was told that she kept on barking and crying and did not left the spot for two hours. She still continues to sit at the spot and see the bloodstains of her babies, the spots faded due to the rains but still visible.”

“Even during the rain she sat there for half an hour and we had to go and take her to the shelter we made for her,” says Hema. She also adds that whenever her WagonR reaches home, the female dog comes up and stares at her, as if hoping her puppies have been saved. “There must 20-30 WagonRs in the society but she only runs after mine. Because we took the puppies in my car for the burial,” added Hema.

Today, Hema worries that if somebody could do that to little puppies, he/she could also do that to the children of the colony someday. “The whole incident is done by a psychopath only,” she remarks.

While the police investigating the three incidents, Hema continues to feed the 15 resident dogs, which are neutered, and many other dogs around the perimeter of Kargil Apartments. Every day she feeds half of the dogs at 9 am and the other half at 6 pm. The food she makes consists of Pedigree, chicken entrails bought from a shop (4 kg) and diluted cow milk. She travels in her car, which smells like a dog shelter, with two water cans of 10 litres placed between the front and rear seats.

“I’ve not even visited my son who lives in the US since a long time. Animal care is a full-time job,” Hema says as her two pet cats continue to enjoy their slumber.

+ posts