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HC asks state, BMC to shut illegal pet shops in Crawford Market

The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure closure of illegal pet shops selling birds and animals at Crawford Market.

A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation seeking criminal action against the shop owners for animal cruelty and illegal trade.

According to the petition filed by a social activist, these shops do not have license from the civic body.

The bench directed the government and the civic body to initiate steps to close down such illegal shops and also keep a strict vigil to ensure that these outlets do not come up again.

“The civic body must be knowing what is happening there but still does not take any action. There is no systematic approach to see to it that such shops are closed and no sale of animals and birds happens,” the court said.

“We want assistant municipal commissioner of this ward and the senior police inspector of the area to keep a strict vigil and see to it that the shops do not function. If you (BMC) cannot do it tell us, we will take action against you,” the court said.

The bench has posted the petition for further hearing after four weeks.

According to the petition, the shops sell unweaned puppies taken away from their mothers even before they can open their eyes.

“The animals are drugged. Large birds, many exotic, are stuffed into small cages and debeaked. Kittens are declawed so that they cannot scratch,” the petition said.

Besides, birds such as koels, jungle fowls, macaws, horn bill, munias, parakeets and mynahs were being openly sold in the market, the petition alleged.

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