Man shoots neighbour's cat with air gun

Oct 13, 2013, 00:39 IST | Neha LM Tripathi

Even though the cat survived, she will have to live with a bullet lodged inside her neck for the rest of her life. Police refuse to register FIR and ask her owners to report the matter via a letter. The couple are still awaiting action

In what can be only be termed as a case of cruelty against animals, a resident of Vile Parle allegedly shot a cat by an air gun. The cat, which belonged to the family of a senior citizen, was lucky enough to survive the incident but will have to live with the bullet in its throat the rest of its life. Doctors say that if they perform surgery, the cat might not survive the operation.

(Above) The cat was discharged a week after staying in hospital as (below) Ronnie and Hilda Sutari felt she was not eating properly in their absence. Pics/Neha LM Tripathi

Ronnie and Hilda Sutari, the senior citizen couple who have been looking after the cat for the last six years, also alleged that when they tried to register a complaint with the Santacruz police station, the officials refused.

“On October 4 around 2.30 am, my brother Jerome saw Mannen Pereira aiming and shooting at our cat with an air gun. We immediately rushed her to the Parel based Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA),” alleged Sutari.

The Sutaris, who barely make Rs 5,000 per month, managed to put together Rs 10,000 for the cat’s treatment.

The incident
According to the Sutaris, their neighbour’s son, Mannen Pereira, shot the cat without any provocation. The family also allege that when they approached their neighbours asking why he did that, they were rude. After admitting the cat to the BSPCA hospital, Sutari went to the Santacruz police station to register an FIR but he was allegedly turned down by the policeman there. After waiting for a long time, he was asked to report the incident in the form of a letter. “I have given in writing what exactly happened and why we want the police to take action. It’s been more than a week now, but still no action has been taken. That means the complaints made by senior citizens have not been taken seriously,” said Sutari. SUNDAY MiD DAY has a copy of the letter.

The cat’s condition
The bullet hit the cat in the neck, causing problems in the windpipe and food pipe. “If we would have tried to operate the cat in order to remove the bullet, her trachea would have burst, resulting in her death. Hence, we treated her in the best possible manner,” said Dr Mayur Dangal, Manager of BSPCA. The cat was admitted on October 4 around 10 am and was discharged on October 11, after the owner realised that keeping her in the hospital isn’t really helping her. The couple, who spent part of their savings on the cat’s treatment, say that they couldn’t bear to see her in pain. “She used to have food only in our presence. We got her discharged, as no operation was going to be conducted. The hospital expenses were also increasing by the day,” said Hilda Sutari.

Police action
According to IPC 428, whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any animals or animal of the value of R10 or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. “The police should have registered an FIR against the culprits. Mumbai police has large powers to take strict action against people who mistreat animals. It is very surprising that the police have behaved in such a manner,” said Ambika Hiranandani, lawyer and managing trustee of People For Animals, an NGO. When SUNDAY MiD DAY contacted Senior Police Inspector Atul Chavan of Santacruz Police Station, he said, “I am not aware about the matter. I will look into the same and necessary action will be taken soon.”  

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