Animal rights activists on Thursday called for psychiatric evaluation of eight juveniles who burnt alive three puppies and filmed the horrific act.
The boys were detained and referred to the Juvenile Justice Board after the video went viral on Wednesday.
N.G. Jayasimha, managing director of Humane Society International/India HSI/India, said a psychiatric evaluation should be done as the violence towards animals could be an indicator of other abuses and potential serious anti-social behaviour in adulthood, including criminal offences and violence towards women and children.
“As an animal welfare advocate and as a parent, it breaks my heart to see the suffering the animals have gone through and the possible violent history that the youngsters must have had to deal with to resort to this kind of action,” he said.
The boys, all said to be under the age of 18, committed the cruelty in a graveyard in Musheerabad area of Hyderabad.
The police took the action following a complaint by Shreya Paropkari, cruelty response manager for HSI/India, and Vasanthi Vadi of People for Animals Hyderabad.
The video shows the boys carrying three puppies, approximately two months old, by their hind legs and burning them alive under a pile of dried branches, sticks and jute sacks.
The puppies were struggling in the video to escape while the culprits pushed them back and held them down under the burning fire using poles.
Jayasimha hoped the Juvenile Justice Board takes swift and stern action for this inexplicable violence against defenceless puppies.
HIS/India pointed out that the puppy burning case in Hyderabad closely follows the recent infamous case of a dog being thrown off a terrace by medical students in Chennai and a host of animal cruelty cases across the country.
“However, in most cases, the accused are able to get away with paying a meagre fine of Rs 50, the maximum penalty prescribed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960,” it said.
HSI/India and People for Animals have started a campaign, #NoMore50, to increase the penalties for animal cruelty so as to deter animal abuse.
“It is a tragedy for this country that animal cruelty is not taken as seriously as it should be. The penalty for killing an animal, and in this case, several animals in this horrific manner, is less than hiring an auto rickshaw to the court to attend the trial.
“It’s time we study and understand the importance of violent behaviour towards animals in children and the domino effect it could have in other forms of violence,” it added.