Mumbai: Monorail slammed for cruelty towards dogs

Updated: Nov 28, 2019, 07:49 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Animal welfare activists claim supplier hired by MMRDA is an unauthorised breeder who has had a contract cancelled earlier, too

A guard with a dog at a Monorail station; (right) ticks seen in the coat of one of the dogs
A guard with a dog at a Monorail station; (right) ticks seen in the coat of one of the dogs

In what is being termed as animal cruelty at the hands of a government agency, a Monorail commuter has alleged that guard dogs are being kept in pathetic conditions with most of them being unwell. The dogs were noticed by animal lover Cookkie Khanna, who accompanied her sons for a Monorail ride on Friday, November 22.

According to Khanna, the dogs appeared ill and starving. She contacted Monorail's its chief security officer, submitted a complaint and alerted animal welfare activists Nandita Saigal and Nirali Garodia.

"I asked the chief security officer for a video of the kennel. That was even more distressing as two dogs were crammed in one cage. I protested saying this amounts to animal cruelty, after which the dogs were provided with bigger cages and better living conditions. On Tuesday, I was told the breeder's contract has been cancelled. A Monorail employee also claimed that three-four dogs died due to lack of care," alleged Khanna.

The cages in which MMRDA kept the dogs
The cages in which MMRDA kept the dogs

Activists are questioning the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Monorail, which, despite being government agencies allegedly hired an unauthorised breeder.

Saigal identified Monorail's dog supplier as Sunil Mohite, who she claimed breeds dogs illegally. "I had earlier reported him to the authorities for keeping dogs in a pathetic state at a five-star hotel in Juhu. His contract was cancelled," Saigal said.

'Breeder' counters claims
Honorary Animal Welfare Officer Nirali Koradia from NGO People for Animals (PFA) is also pursuing the matter and will be writing to the at MMRDA, Monorail and plans to approach the police. The duo also approached former union minister Maneka Gandhi.

Mohite countered the claims saying his contract was just to supply dogs. "The MMRDA was supposed to provide me with a kennel for 20 dogs at Wadala Monorail depot. On a temporary basis, they were kept at another place. I am being targeted. After an NGO complained, the dogs were shifted to a new kennel. They were taken for medical check-ups. Yet the MMRDA cancelled my contract," said Mohite.

On the other hand, MMRDA's Additional Chief of Transport and Communication, DLN Murthy, said, "The contractor is selected through an open bidding process. The NGO approached us on Monday and were satisfied with our reply. However, on Tuesday, they approached MP Maneka Gandhi. On Tuesday evening, I terminated the contract as a precautionary measure. She thanked MMRDA for the prompt action."

Expert speak

Gauri Maulekhi, Trustee, People for Animals (PFA)
'There are two offences — first, the pathetic condition that the dogs are kept in. Second, their procurement from an unauthorised breeder. The central government had notified breeding and marketing rules in 2017. Only licenced breeders can raise pedigree dogs'

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