"When I came in the morning to open my shop on Tuesday, I was horrified to find blood all over the place," says Shakil, whose cycle shop in Yusuf Sarai market is just next to Green Park Metro Station. The shop is near the site where a man brutally stabbed three dogs and killed a puppy last week.
Shakil said he initially thought that it was a case of a high profile murder, but had no clue that innocent animals were mercilessly hacked for no reason at all.
The incident is one that has left the area completely shocked. While the month-old pup died on the spot after the brutal assault, the three dogs that were stabbed are now undergoing medical treatment.
"When I was informed by some of the workers of the nearby parantha shop, I immediately reached my shop. I got completely perturbed seeing the dogs lying in a pool of blood. I wasted no time and called up a few friends and we took the helpless animals to the nearby veterinary clinic for medical care," says Gaurav Wadhwa, a cycle shop owner in the market, who is now the main complainant in the case.
Initially, the police were not very cooperative since they weren't sure in whose jurisdiction the site of the assault came.
"As the crime was committed on the stairs of the metro station, it was bit of a hassle to decide the jurisdiction. But after continued efforts, the case was filed at Hauz Khas Police Station under sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals Act," adds Wadhwa.
The shop owners at the Yusuf Sarai market are however taking care of the stray dogs of the area. They also look after their medical needs and have been taking them to clinics regularly.
"Why would one mercilessly attack innocent animals? If this can happen to poor animals, it would not be a surprise if such attacks happen on human beings as well. The accused is a grave threat to the society," says a paan-shop owner who wished to remain unnamed.
As the news broke on Sunday after the CCTV footage was made public, a few NGOs have come up to offer help.
"As soon as Gaurav (Wadhwa) contacted us, our volunteers have been putting all efforts. From taking the dogs to clinics, running around police stations to keeping in touch with the media, we are doing our best," says Abhinav Srihan, member of Delhi State Advisory Board for Animal Welfare. He also echoed Wadhwa's concern and said about the reluctant attitude of the police.
"We had a great difficulty in getting the CCTV footage from the Delhi Metro authorities. We, however, somehow managed to get it and handed it over to the police. We have also announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh on anyone who helps in identifying the accused. Despite all our efforts in helping to nab the accused, the attitude of police towards the case is far from satisfactory. But we are grateful to all the shopkeepers who have been taking care of the dogs," adds Srihan.
The police have released a public notice regarding the incident asking the public to provide any information or clue in finding the accused.
"We are optimistic about the case and believe that accused will be soon nabbed. We are also depending on the media to carry forward the case as well as the issue of animal cruelty so that such incidents are brought to public notice," says Varun Malik, an animal rights activist and a close friend of Gaurav Wadhwa.
"All the stray dogs of the area are very friendly and warm. I have been feeding and taking care of them since years and all are regularly sterilised. Never there has been an incident where they have attacked people. As it is very clear in the video that during the attack on them, not once did they become aggressive," says Wadhwa.
Delhi Police on Monday said that they are scrutinising the footage and have obtained a close-up image of the accused. Once a clearer visual will be obtained from it, it would be then circulated on social media for identification of the accused with posters, a senior police officer confirmed. Police had on Sunday said they that have formed two teams to track him down.