At least 18 dogs were poisoned, allegedly at the order of a professor at Sylhet Agricultural University (SAU), on Monday night.
SAU students caught a staff member red-handed who confessed that he was ordered by a professor and had poisoned 18 dogs.
Abdus Sukur Imran, a master's student of the university, said, “Around 7pm, some students found a dog in the drain. They informed animal rights activists who rescued the dog.”
“We initially thought the dog was bitten by snake, but later realised it was poisoned. After a search, we found eight more poisoned dogs on the campus. We contacted some senior teachers and tried to give the dogs medical treatment, but two died instantly.”
“We caught Juwel Miah, an employee of the university, who was carrying poison and food. He admitted that a professor ordered him to kill the dogs,” Imran added.
Imran also told The Daily Star that they returned to the hall around 2am but in the morning did not found any dogs on the campus.
“There are around 25 stray dogs on the campus but in the morning, not a single one could be located. Not even the dead dogs. Someone must have removed all of them during the night,” he said.
According to the section 7 of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1920, “If any person kills any animal in an unnecessarily cruel manner, he shall be punished with fine which may extend to two hundred taka, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with both: Provided that nothing in this section shall render it an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion or religious rites and usages of any race, sect, tribe or class, or for any bona fide scientific purpose or for the preparation of any medicinal drug”.
Moreover, the High Court on November 26 last year ordered to take preventive steps against torturing and killing of animals and dog culling in the most sadistic manner.
Protesting the cruelty, the university students formed a human chain on the campus at 1pm yesterday, demanding justice.
Ashraful Kabir, coordinator of Bhoomishontan Bangladesh, said, “This is cruel and those involved must be punished. We will take legal steps if necessary and will protest.”
Dr Sultan Ahmed, professor and chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, apparently ordered the poisoning.
Contacted, he said, “There are around 50 dogs on the campus, who are out of control. These dogs have killed around 22 lambs in last three years. We wrote to Sylhet City Corporation to take action but they did nothing.”
“On Monday, a dog killed two hybrid lambs and I intended to have that dog killed. But things got out of hand and three dogs ended up being killed,” he said.
The professor further said, “I am not defending the poisoning, but what should be done to these dogs that had gone wild? We even tried euthanasia, but failed. I am an animal lover, and we had to take action.”
OC Akther Hossain of Shahporan Police Station said, “We have not been informed of such incident. We will take legal action if anyone files complaint.”
This correspondent could not contact SAU Vice-chancellor Dr Md Matiar Rahman Howlader. Assistant Registrar Md Atiqul Islam said the VC is on a tour.