Kolkata: For the first time, Kuttus — a 10 year-old Samoyed — could happily snuggle at his favourite corner of his room, occasionally hopping up and down the sofa and not hide underneath the almirah like previous Diwalis. Thanks to the ban on firecrackers and its implementation in the city, people could celebrate Diwali along with their pets. Kali Puja and Diwali are usually a time of torment other years due to the bursting of firecrackers.
“Every Diwali we cancel all celebrations and stay at home comforting my two dogs Kuttus and Barfi to ensure they feel safe. We would feel terrible seeing them hiding under tables and almirahs every year. But this year, I was happy to see them behave normally,” Sutirtha Basu, a Jadavpur resident.
Animal rights activist and pet care shop owner Swetanjali Mehrotra, who campaigns for a cracker-free Diwali every year, praised the judiciary and the government’s initiative this year. “Perhaps this is the only positive aspect that Diwali during the pandemic has thrown up. It has come as a big relief for all animals and activists like us,” said Mehrotra.
Animals, such as dogs and cats, are sensitive to sharp and loud noises and experience fear and confusion over the loud blasts of firecrackers. As a result, while the festive season is a reason for all of us to cheer, it becomes a harrowing time for pets as well as stray animals. During Diwali, one can see how dogs change their body language. They tuck their tails between their legs and cower in fear, attempting to hide under beds and couches.
Bhowanipore resident Mrinalini Mukherjee said she has seen her pets Dollar and Duster suffer for 12 years during Diwali and Kali Puja. “They aren’t capable of expressing their difficulties but they face a tough time. A cracker-free Diwali this year has made them absolutely happy,” said Mukherjee.
Hailing the high court order and demanding a similar ban for every year Torsha Banerjee, a doctor, said: “While most people look forward to Diwali, we pet owners fear for our babies. I have seen my Labrador, Simba, run under the bed or behind a cupboard hurriedly, ending up hurting himself on occasions. Needless to say, even I could not enjoy my Diwali. I am happy about the order for a noise-free Diwali with my furry friends.”