Do you know that kicking a stray dog can land you in court. Overloading a bullock-cart or a hack-victoria, faulty shoeing of horses and oxen or working an animal which has a tumour or a festering sore are all offences under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act) 1960.
Any incident of cruelty to animals or birds could bring you face to face with The Bombay SPCA's field staff. Most people in the city do not know of the existence of this parallel police force which has the power to arrest and prosecute people who are cruel to animals or birds.
The field staff consists of 20 agents (similar to police constables), a field supervisor (sub-inspector) and a field officer (sub-inspector). These 22 officers are headed by the Secretary of The Bombay SPCA.
The Bombay SPCA staff hold powers of additional police officers under the PCA Act. They are directly responsible to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai. They are always on the look-out for cases of cruelty to animals. They supervise the loading and unloading of cattle and poultry at the various markets. Slaughter houses, cattle pounds, menageries and the roads of Mumbai are also patrolled.
Whenever a report of cruelty is received from a member of the public, the matter is immediately investigated and necessary action is taken, which may include court proceedings, fines, warnings and even a jail sentence. Over 100 court cases are filed every month.