Not everyone may love animals, but it takes an extraordinary penchant for violence to point the barrel of a gun at someone who can neither defend themselves nor draw attention to their suffering. The gruesome attack on a dog shelter in Lahore (said to be carried out by the people in the locality) is not something the law enforcement agencies can sit upon.
Because failing to hunt down the perpetrators and hand out appropriate punishments in accordance with Pakistan Penal Code would mean sending a message of complacency to these depraved beings. Section 429 makes it a criminal offence to kill, maim, or render useless any animal, punishable with five years imprisonment and/or with a fine. If it was a group of rescued strays killed in the cruellest of manner, there is no knowing who they may choose to target tomorrow. After all, there remains a direct correlation between animal abuse and far more serious instances of violence.
It is the same with domestic abuse where as many as 83 per cent of women reporting an abusive partner have some heart-wrenching tales about them kicking a dog or starving a cat. That is a terrible Venn diagram.
Had it been an ideal world, the horrors unleashed upon the shelter owned by the organisation United Animal Rescue should have reverberated across the nation. But alas! neither any FIR has yet been registered nor sufficient action taken by the local police. While the ruckus raised on social media might prompt a round of arrests, they would most likely get bails and continue satiating their lust for blood.
There is no room to shrug shoulders and proclaim “these offenders are just children.” Because the children hailed as harmless today would soon let their streak of violence go unabated. Trying them for heart-wrenching crimes like murder or rape would not only fall on their conscience but also on the society that let them roam free with a slap on the wrist on the first day. *