| Matt Too in Guwahati. File picture |
Guwahati, Oct. 5: Matt Too, the Labrador pup that was languishing at an unauthorised “pet shop” in the city’s Rajgarh Road area, is still missing.
Tapan Haloi, the owner of the “pet shop” that was sealed last evening by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation for not having relevant papers, said today that the pup “wasn’t dead” but he “didn’t know its whereabouts”. “I have just returned from Nalbari and can get back to you only tomorrow,” Haloi today told The Telegraph.
Sangita Goswami, animal rights activist and member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, today said she, too, had sent a volunteer to Haloi’s North East Aquorium, but to no avail. “The shop assistant misbehaved with our volunteer,” Goswami alleged.
A team from her NGO, People for Animals, would go on an inspection of all the pet shops in the city on Monday, Goswami said.
As for Haloi, in case Matt Too was actually missing, he could be booked under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, she said. If proven guilty he could be sentenced to three months’ imprisonment along with a fine, she said. “We will consider this,” Goswami said.
Haloi, who had yesterday claimed that the pup had come to his shop “for treatment”, had on October 2 offered to sell the pup for Rs 10,000. His change of stance came yesterday after The Telegraph carried a story about how the pup that was very ill had been kept in a small cage for months, often outside in the dust and heat, waiting for a customer.
Reporters from The Telegraph who visited the shop yesterday afternoon, however, found that Matt Too was no longer there and all the animal cages had been removed from outside the shop.
Haloi had yesterday said he was in Nalbari as his brother-in-law had passed away. Contacted this afternoon, Haloi said his sister had now taken ill and so he couldn’t talk about the pup. He started out saying he had never offered to sell the dog but came around when reminded that his wasn’t a veterinary hospital that could take in pets for treatment.
Haloi, prior to this, said his assistant had returned the pup yesterday to its owner.
“My assistant had not kept the contact details of the pup’s owner,” Haloi had insisted.
His “pet shop”, which was sealed yesterday by the GMC, continued to be under lock and key today.