A street dog named Lara was mowed down in January by the driver of an Audi car in Bengaluru, which has sparked outrage among animal rights activists.

A deceased dog being given a funeral in BengaluruLara's funeral | Credit: Ramya
news Animal cruelty Wednesday, February 02, 2022 - 12:35

A tragic incident came to light when CCTV footage of a dog being killed in Bengaluru surfaced on social media. The video shows a pack of dogs sleeping by the roadside when an Audi car appears in the background, and slowly makes its way towards the dogs before suddenly and deliberately speeding up in their direction. One of the dogs — whom residents had named Lara — was caught under the wheels, and died. The incident occurred on January 26 in Bengaluru’s Jayanagar 1st block.

The video sparked outrage from several quarters, with many including activists, residents and even celebrities condemning the killing. One of the residents, Badri Prasad, who was reportedly among those who would regularly feed and take care of Lara, even filed a police complaint against the driver of the car. Based on this, the Siddapura police arrested one Adhi, who comes from a political background, on January 30. He was booked under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Lara’s death came as a shock to the residents of the neighbourhood, as well as to members of various citizens’ groups who work towards animal welfare. A funeral for Lara was held at the Sumanahalli animal crematorium in Bengaluru on Tuesday, February 1, which was attended by hundreds of people, including Sandalwood actor-turned-politician Ramya. School children were there too, holding up banners that advocated against animal cruelty.

Read: Bengaluru man caught on cam driving Audi over sleeping stray dogs, arrested

Offences for animal cruelty are listed under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and many have argued for more stringent punishments. According to provisions of the Act, the accused must pay a fine of merely Rs 50 per animal, and in case of subsequent violations within three years, it is punishable with imprisonment for three months or a fine of up to Rs 100, or both.

"Accidents do happen. Human beings do commit mistakes. But, in this case, the dog has been run over deliberately. We couldn't tolerate this act. Laws regarding animals are not strict in our country. The accused can pay Rs 50 and come out. Empathy is not only for human beings, it should also be there for the animals," Ramya had said after Lara’s funeral on Tuesday. She also urged the government to strengthen the law against animal cruelty.

Read: Dog killed by Audi driver in Bengaluru gets funeral, actor Ramya among attendees

Last year, in a similar incident, CCTV footage was captured of a man deliberately driving over a street dog with his car in Bengaluru’s Hulimavu. The man, identified as retired sub-inspector Nageshiah, was driving with his son when they spotted a dog on the street. The footage showed that the left wheel of the car went over the dog. The dog was critically injured in the incident and succumbed four months later.

Meanwhile, the conviction rate for animal cruelty is low, with charge sheets being submitted for only about 5-10% of cases, a lawyer had earlier told TNM. And though Nageshiah was convicted for the act of cruelty, he walked away with a 30-day jail sentence and a Rs 2,000 fine. While animal rights activists were glad that he was convicted, they believed that he should have been awarded more stringent punishment.

Read: Retd Bengaluru cop who killed stray dog convicted, activists point to larger issue

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