Guwahati: A truck filled with nearly 60 dogs — being transported for alleged “human consumption” — was intercepted when the vehicle met with an accident near Koliabor in Assam’s Nagaon district on Wednesday night. This comes amid the massive meat scandal that has recently unfolded in Kolkata where tonnes of carcass meat were being distributed by vendors into the market.
Five of the dogs died after being rescued while police claim that the rest of the canines have been released in an agricultural colony 500 metres from Hatibondha area under Sulung police outpost. Both the driver and helper of the mini truck, however, managed to escape.
An investigation has been launched following the recovery of the dogs, said Shankar Raimedhi, Superintendent of Police, Nagaon.
The incident took place around 10.30 pm on Wednesday when the DI-207 Tata vehicle with the registration number AS 09AC 3302 collided with a Maruti 800 that was moving headed towards Tezpur. Three persons were injured in the accident and were rushed to the hospital. When police reached the spot, they recovered the dogs that were bound with ropes and stuffed into gunny sacks with their mouths tied.
The dogs, mostly lifted from streets and illegally being transported without any food or water, were whimpering in pain.
Sangeeta Goswami, chairperson of People for Animals (PFA) said she would follow-up on the case and take stock of the dogs rescued dogs.
“We need to be sure if the dogs were released as the police claims and under what conditions. Illegal transport of dogs has been taking place since a long time. For a little money, many youths have got into this racket where they trap dogs and tie them up in a cruel manner. Sometimes, their mouths are stitched so that they don’t make any noise. Dog meat is a delicacy in many parts of the northeast, including Nagaland, Karbi Anglong in Assam, Mizoram and Manipur,” said Goswami.
She added that without strong laws against animal cruelty and government’s efforts to tackle illegal animal trade, the situation is unlikely to change.
In May 2017, Nagaon police had rescued around 75 dogs from Samaguri town while being smuggled to the neighbouring Nagaland. Of the rescued dogs, 23 had died due to asphyxiation and hunger.
Sources say that dog meat sellers in Nagaland pay Rs 500 to Rs 1000 for a live canine while the meat is sold at around Rs 300-400/kilogram. Thousands of stray and stolen dogs are killed every year in northeast with state governments failing to enforce a ban on dog meat.
(With inputs from Dibakar Das)