Do not auction 22 abandoned buffaloes in Palakkad: HC to municipality

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Kochi, Jul 22 (PTI) Coming to the aid of 22 buffaloes, which survived out of a total of 35 found abandoned in Palakkad, the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the municipality -- now looking after the bovines -- not to auction or sell them off without its permission.

The Court directed the state government to ensure that a veterinary surgeon attached to the Veterinary Hospital in Palakkad visits the site where 22 buffaloes are being housed by the municipality and examine their health condition.

Justice T R Ravi said the vet can decide what further steps need to be taken for the welfare of the buffaloes and file a report on the action taken by him before the next date of hearing on July 26.

It asked the state government to inform it whether police had seized the buffaloes in connection with the case lodged by it and also if any arrests have been made.

It also issued notice to the Kerala government, Palakkad Municipality, police and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), seeking their stand on a plea by People for Animals (PFA) andAhimsa Farm Animal Sanctuary (AFAS)for custody of the buffaloes and to stop their auction.

According to the two animal rights groups, represented by advocate Bhanu Thilak, about 35 buffaloes were found abandoned in a badly emaciated condition in Palakkad in May and of them only 22 are surviving now.

After the police lodged a case, the municipality took over custody and care of the bovines, Thilak told the court and added that when the two organisations approached the local body for custody of the animals, it sought Rs 1.75 lakh from them towards the money spent on feeding the buffaloes.

During the hearing, the municipality said it does not have ownership or custody of the buffaloes and was looking after them purely on humanitarian grounds.

It said that it has spent Rs 1.75 lakh on feeding the bovines and the amount needs to be indicated under some head in its balance sheets.

It also assured the judge that the bovines would not be sold or auctioned without permission of the court. PTI HMP APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR

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