Pradeep Pattanayak

The death of a horse due to negligence by its owner at a place between Kalama and Gadadeulia under Baisinga police limits in Mayurbhanj district has evoked sharp reactions from animal lovers and common people alike. 

The incident occurred on August 30 and has now become the talk of the town.

According to locals, the owner of the horse, who is from Uttar Pradesh, did odd businesses in Odisha engaging horses. On a sultry day, he was tired and quenched his thirst from a roadside eatery. But he did not allow the animal, who was equally thirsty, to drink. This led to the death of the mute animal. 

On the fateful day, the businessman was going to Baripada from Balasore in a cart drawn by the horse. The sun was beating hard. 
He covered the whole distance till Kalama Square on National Highway 18 without any stoppage. At Kalama Square, he stopped the cart and went to a roadside eatery to slake his thirst. 

Meanwhile, the horse, which was also very thirsty after a long journey in scorching sun, started running towards Gadadeulia. It was perhaps searching for a water source.  

Shockingly enough, while running it got entangled in a tree branch near Nandasahi jungle and breathed its last. 

As the news spread, hundreds of local people gathered at the spot and gave an earful to the horse owner holding him responsible for its death. 

“After the long journey, the horse might be thirsty. But, its owner didn’t even think of its condition and leaving it alone, he went to the roadside eatery to quench his thirst.  Then, it started running in search of water. Unfortunately it got entangled in a tree branch and died,” said Jagannath Hembram, a local villager. 

Expressing his concern, a local resident Ghanashyam Murmu said, “According to onlookers, he made the horse exhaust by making it run all the distance from Balasore without stoppage and without giving it water in this scorching heat.”

Demanding stern action against the culprit, secretary of People for Animals Jeevan Das said, “In this case, the owner of the horse is solely responsible for the death of the animal. Had he taken proper care of the animal, provided enough food and water en route, it wouldn’t have died. Under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, action can be initiated against the owner of the horse.”

“To possess an animal, a certificate is to be obtained from the Animal Welfare Board. In this case, since the owner of the horse hails from Uttar Pradesh, he must have the certificate from the Board in Uttar Pradesh. As he was in Odisha, he must also have obtained this from the Animal Welfare Board of Odisha. If he doesn’t possess this certificate, the quantum of punishment would be more.  

“Taking cognizance of the incident, the district administration or the police could have by now taken action against this cruel animal owner,” opined Das. 

It is worth mentioning, a 13-year-old police horse named Shaktiman was brutally attacked by the then BJP’s Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi near the Legislative Assembly in Dehradun on March 14 afternoon. The BJP was staging a protest against the then state government. 
The horse which suffered multiple fractures on its hind leg was immediately rushed to the district veterinary officer for treatment. 

Its injured leg had to be amputated and a prosthesis leg was brought from the US to be put on it. But it didn’t work. Finally, the animal breathed its last on April 20, 2016. 

In this connection, the lawmaker was arrested. However, he was later let off on bail. 

Shaktiman had been part of Uttarakhand Mounted Police for years  and participated in many parades.