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Standing Up To Cruelty Against Community Dogs And Prolonged Harassment Of Feeders And Animal Lovers At Gated Society in Bangalore

Updated: May 30

Looking at social media, you'd think the world is becoming a kinder place for animals. You constantly see heartwarming stories of shopkeepers letting stray dogs sleep inside during winters, giant water bowls for animals being installed at streets during scorching summers, adoption of stray dogs over buying breeds, the shift towards veganism, and so on. But beyond all these rare cases of a positive change, are the home owners in a posh gated society near you that seem to have decided to be as socially regressive as possible. This is a story of when residents of such a gated society in Bangalore didn't only cross all limits of decency but violated multiple laws when they had all community dogs in the premises kicked out after subjecting them and their caretakers to years of harassment and abuse.

Above all, this is a story of how they created an extremely stressful and unsafe environment not only for the stray dogs but also the animal lovers, with their protracted online bullying, harassment, mob mentality, and an abject lack of respect for the law or their upholders.

Even though this is a common occurrence in many other gated societies and neighborhoods in India, this one in question is SJR Bluewaters, located off Sarjapur road, one of Bangalore's IT corridors. Still in construction after nearly 10 years, on a sprawling 16-acre land by the banks of the emerald Hosa lake, with questionable boundary walls, the society has been also home to about 10 stray dogs who mostly mind their own business for the last five to six years. A majority of residents want the dogs out and are frequently at loggerheads with the small minority of residents who recognize the dogs' right to their land and their dogged determination to ensure them justice.

How did it all start?

When I moved there in 2022 and noticed the dogs, I was immediately consumed with worry: Who feeds them? Who's taking care of them? Are they vaccinated? Little did I know that in a parallel universe inside those cesspools of multiplying herd mentality -- Whatsapp and Telegram communities -- other people had waged a war against the "stray dog menace" , one that'd became a full-blown issue involving the police, the BBMP and the law over the next few years.

Stray dogs inside gated society

Mission ABC - Get the dogs vaccinated and neutered

Appreciating that the dogs exist, they didn't choose to be here but this abusive environment for them doesn't have to be perpetuated on to their next generations, a bunch of us animal lovers teamed up to get all the dogs neutered and vaccinated over a period of 6 months.

The stray dog population inside that started with 12 when I moved in stayed consistent at 10 (as two of them mysteriously disappeared at some point.) We named all of these dogs to not only recognise them as community dogs but also give them an identity of their own. In a #PeakBengaluru moment, 6 of them were named after Bangalore-based startups - Dunzo, Zepto, Zeta, Meesho, Mojo, and Yulu, and also mentioned on an article on Bangalore Mirror.

After a point we even got the stray dogs outside of the society vaccinated and neutered to make this a stray-dog free zone in the next 10 years,

Scheduled feeding of the dogs begins, and so does harassment of the feeders

Even though this wasn't on my agenda when I first moved in, somehow it started with feeding a few puppies, a sick dog, and then translated into a full fledged daily feeding routine. I would dedicatedly cook food for the dogs, then come 11 in the night, slink out of my house and Peter Pan the dogs out to a desolate area in the society to not come in anyone's way but mostly not come in the harm's way.

I was accosted many times by fellow residents on why I was feeding the dogs and my names and photos freely taken and shared on various Whatsapp groups. Similar story transpired with other feeders. It was my first taste of doing something good on the sly as though committing a crime! While the ones that actually were doing every wrong by the book were empowered by their numbers. While the offline attacks were few and far between, the abuse was manifesting as a full blown psychological warfare on the Whatsapp groups. These residents frequently mocked, abused, and ganged up against the feeders and resorted to other forms of abuse against the dogs.

This harmless feeding of the dogs was followed by a series of abuse and harassment that snowballed into a serious matter of violation of laws, abject cruelty against the dogs and a serious concern for safety of many like me.

But for the longest time we chose to ignore personal smite in favour of the larger cause - to ensure the dogs didn't go to sleep hungry and that they were protected against abuse. At the same time, we knew we were doing the right thing and within the ambit of law. You may not personally like stray dogs being around, but you cannot stop anyone else from feeding one. It's morally, ethically and most critically, legally wrong.

What is the supreme court law about feeding stray animals

After many similar incidents and tussles between dog antagonisers and animal lovers that would end up in an impasse, the Supreme Court, nudged by the AWBI, have issued various guidelines and even formed laws pertaining to the status of community animals and the role of RWAs and citizens in dealing with them. The Supreme court of India validates feeding of stray dogs not only as a right, but a constitutional duty. The Supreme Court, rightly so, states that feeding stray dogs prevents aggressiveness and unprovoked attacks out of hunger and frustration.

In fact, one of these orders under the “Animal Birth Control rules” under Indian Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, published in the official Gazette of India dated March 2023, stipulates:      

“It shall be responsibility of the Resident Welfare Association (RWA) or Apartment Owner Association(AoA) or Local Body’s representative of that area to make necessary arrangement for feeding of community animals residing in the premises or that area involving the person residing in that area or premises as the case may be, who feeds those animals or intends to feed those animals and provide care to street animals as a compassionate gesture. ”

The BBMP, Bangalore's local governing authority too has many times issued clear guidelines on validating feeding of stray dogs and all the related myths and offences making it very clear that no RWAs or individuals can oppose, leave alone prevent or harass those found feeding the dogs.

BBMP guidelines on feeding stray dogs

Relocation of stray dogs is illegal as per the BBMP

Along with laws that support feeding stray dogs, the BBMP and many other state municipalities deem relocation of stray dogs strictly illegal and punishable under sections of Indian Penal Codes (IPCS) of 428 and 429.

So no you can't send them to shelters, you can't kick them out of where they are deemed to be born or spend the most time, and you can't call any dog catchers "to finish the job", terms that were frequently thrown around in the Whatsapp groups.

Management and residents of SJR Bluewaters violate all laws (other than limits of decency)

But despite these laws having been communicated several times on the resident communities and even to the management, the residents have acted in flagrant violation and aggression. They've arm-twisted the security guards to remove these dogs by brute force and I caught one such act in person when on a post-dinner late night stroll, I witnessed the dogs being hit with lathis and driven out. Many of these dogs hid away in the adjoining lake forest, with no food or water for days. Many of them came back with severe injuries. Two have been missing ever since. One is walking around with a broken right hand even to this day. Then there is an egregious instance of a puppy having been beaten to death, an incident that should've chilled the bones of anyone with half a heart. But not this society. The same residents have continued to instigate and promote harm to the dogs with impunity.

**** Trigger Warning*****

Instances of cruelty against  stray dogs in the society
Instances of cruelty against dogs in the society

All discussions for a peaceful resolution, futile

We knew we needed to step up but we didn't want to stoop to the level of these goons and went about it in a peaceful, civilized way again. We made another attempt to get the two parties, the few of us animal lovers and feeders, and the people who had an issue with the animals to come to an agreement. But we were not given a chance to speak at all. We were outnumbered 10:1. Some of them even resorted to being physically aggressive against the feeders, most of whom were women. I had an aggressive man, twice my size, shadow over me, and snatch my phone when I started recording. When nothing else, they also had the tenants representing the animal welfare side leave the discussion turning it into an elitist tenant vs owner issue rather than an animal rights vs animal cruelty issue that it was.

This scene alone could give the Indian parliament a run for its money!

SPCA and other animal welfare organizations looped in, but no avail

When things came to a head and no amount of negotiation and reasonable arguments worked, we decided to loop in the local chapter of SPCA to have a meeting with the residents and apprise them of all the relevant laws that validate feeding community animals and against harassment of feeders. But this meeting too had little impact and the SPCA rep himself was abused and verbally harassed by the mob of residents, all under the nose of the management. The meeting ended on the conclusion “to let status quo be and the dogs to be continued to be fed inside at a dedicated area.” While the residents continued to resort to brute force, online smear campaigns and in-person confrontations to stop and harass anyone seen feeding the community dogs.

The residents and society management drive the community dogs out in severe violation of the BBMP laws

In their latest attack and the final straw for us, the residents arm-twisted the maintenance and security to drive away the community dogs. Some of these dogs had their collars (identifying them as the community dogs) were deliberately removed to disprove our claim of them being so. In fact many residents have outright, in front of the police and BBMP officials lied that “there were never any dogs in the society” and that some of us are “illegally bringing outside dogs inside”, a ludicrous statement given that we have video and image proof of these dogs’ existence inside the society as far back as 2019.

Harassment of feeders and animal lovers with sustained efforts to dox, abuse and get them removed from society

When they couldn't fight us alone on legality, these hostile residents resorted to other means of harassment. They tried to dox my identity on the groups, instigate mob action against me, as well as intercept my tenants after I moved out of the society. They also had the owners of the animal lovers who were tenants evicted or threatened to be evicted. Other forms of abuse included gatekeeping certain Whatsapp groups from the animal lovers and the most ironical of it all, threatening legal action against them for "harassment".

Legal action sought, BBMP issues an order to reinstate the relocated dogs back in the society

We had been the peaceful and the tolerant ones for far too long but not anymore. We have the law, ethics, and above all, blessings of those we seek to protect with us. We have filed complaints for all the applicable offences and the BBMP and other authorities are looking into it. As a big win, as of now, we have managed to secure a BBMP order directing the society to bring the relocated dogs back in. (The poor things continue to be in hiding due to their trauma)

BBMP order on relocation of stray dogs

Our agenda was never to wage a war against individuals or to take legal action. All we wanted and still want is this society (and other similar societies and neighborhoods) to commit to cordially co-existing with animals that happen to share our land and allowing us to feed and take care of them out of our compassion and within all the ambit of the law.

But this ordeal is far from over. There's a long road ahead but we're not backing down. We want this society to serve as an example of how a shared cause of compassion, ethics and being on the side of law should and does win over hooliganism, online bullying, mob mentality, and blatant lawlessness by such anti-social elements of the society.

As of now, this is a developing story, but watch this space for more.

Have you faced such an issue in your society? What recourse did you have? Share your story in the comments. 


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 I (Monica) am a lifelong traveler, (40 countries), sustainability and veganism advocate, and a marketer by profession. I'm old school in that I still like to blog and document rather than shoot and post.

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