By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV Online
In an extreme act of animal cruelty, a family in Kokopo witnessed their dog being shot and killed by a member of the PNG Royal Police Constabulary on Saturday, 1 November.
Very distraught and outraged, the family revealed how their pet dog Basa, acting upon his canine instincts by guarding his territory, was shot whilst barking at the policemen gathered by the roadside, outside the family premises.
It is understood that the dog had not attacked the officers, but was only barking at them from the family home.
It was alleged that police on night patrol were in the vicinity to respond to complainants, constructing houses near the family’s home, who were harrassed by youths.
According to the family, the construction workers who temporarily reside in the houses being built were approached by intoxicated youths at around 10pm, demanding for money and food which sparked an argument between the two factions.
One of the construction workers was sent to summon the police; when the officers had arrived at the scene, the drunken youths had already left, but the policemen remained standing by the road.
The curious dog stood barking at the police officers from within the family premises and according to the family, they then saw one of the officer’s proceed to walk over to a tree where he then drew his firearm and shot at the canine, approximately three metres away.
The unexpected killing of Basa is a traumatic experience for the owners; and it is understood that they have since laid an official complaint at both the Kokopo Police Station and Provincial Police headquarters.
Owner of the pet dog, Fredrick Ohmana said “I thought this type of behaviour by our police force should come to an end but instead it’s practically getting out of hand.”
Ohmana expressed the need for authorities to discipline rogue and undisciplined officers, like the one who killed his family dog.
Animal cruelty and abuse is a globally confronted issue and laws enacted to protect animals against cruelty are captured in the Papua New Guinea Animals Act 1952.
According to part IV of the Animals Act:
(1) Subject to Subsections (2), (3) and (4) and without limiting the generality of the expression, the following acts shall, for the purposes of this Part, be deemed to involve cruelty to the animal concerned:–
(a) overriding, overdriving or overworking an animal; (b) overloading an animal, or driving an animal when overloaded; (c) riding, driving, employing or conveying an animal that is unfit for such treatment; (d) ill treating, injuring, tormenting or torturing an animal; (e) doing in circumstances that amount to cruelty any of the following acts:–
(i) beating, wounding, mutilating or killing an animal; (ii) causing unnecessary pain to an animal.
(2) Where a dog that is on a public road, street or place rushes at or barks at–
(a) a person; or (b) a vehicle or an animal in or on which a person is riding,
in such a manner as to cause danger or injury to the person, that person or any other person present may then and there kill or attempt to kill the dog without liability to any proceedings for or by reason of the killing or attempted killing.
(3) An act done without unnecessary cruelty by a medical officer or authorized officer specifically–
(a) for the advancement of medical or veterinary science; or (b) to make a medical or veterinary diagnosis; or (c) to prepare vaccines for treatment for the prevention of human and animal disease,shall, for the purposes of this Part, be deemed not to involve cruelty.
According to part IV (95) of the Animals Act a person who kills an animal in any manner; or in any position; or in any circumstances, involving cruelty; is guilty of an offence where a penalty of a fine not exceeding K200.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months is applicable.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) of Papua New Guinea are at the forefront to prevent cruelty to all animals and pursue reported cases of cruelty to animals and, if necessary, prosecute offenders under part IV of the Animals Act.
RSPCA is a charitable organisation committed to the welfare of “all creatures great and small” in PNG.