On Wednesday, Metropolitan Magistrate SB Bhajipale stated that, since the cattle pound managed by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) doesn't have suitable arrangements for horses and in order to ensure their welfare, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India may provide them with medical aid, food, and other necessities at its cost.
He was ruling on an intervention application filed by PETA in the matter of a First Information Report registered with the Vile Parle police station on 26 December, in which the police seized six horses used for an illegal race.
The court further directed the investigating officer of the police station to be supportive of the equine experts from PETA.
On 8 January, the court will decide on the group's intervention application, which asks for the interim and later permanent custody of the horses under the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017. PETA is seeking permanent housing for the animals at a sanctuary in Sangli.
At the time of their rescue on 26 December, the horses were found injured and exhausted and were then taken to the BMC cattle pound in Malad by the police.
However, the next day, one of the horses was found dead, and the post-mortem revealed that the animal had died of suffocation or asphyxia because the rope tied to the animal's neck was too tight.
The six accused were granted bail on 28 December.
PETA pointed out in its application that the suspects violated the 2015 judgment of the High Court of Bombay which states that having horses in Mumbai is illegal, as none of the stables are licensed by the BMC, and that tonga races are banned in the country by the High Court of Rajasthan at Jodhpur through its 2016 judgment.
The group also pointed out that the High Court of Bombay (through its order) and the Maharashtra State government (through its affidavit filed in the High Court, which the court accepted in totality) had suggested that the horses rescued by law-enforcement agencies or voluntarily surrendered by their owners may be given to NGOs, such as PETA, for rehabilitation and lifelong care.
PETA recently fired off letters to the Commissioner of the BMC and the Police Commissioner of Mumbai requesting that they promptly implement the 2015 judgment of the High Court of Bombay and enforce provisions that require the seizure of horses from unlicensed stables and those being illegally used for joy rides and races, such as this incident, in Mumbai.
In its letter, PETA offered to accept and rehabilitate horses who are seized because of violations of law or the high court's orders....