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Dubai : A 40-year-old man who allegedly sodomised a female stray dog, in the Indian state of Maharashtra’s Thane district, last week, was arrested only after tweets about the incident went viral. Indian news websites reported the incident on Saturday, and angry Twitter users, and animal rights activists are sharing the story, calling it a “heinous incident of animal cruelty”.

Many also highlighted the delay in police action in this case and other such cases, and wondered if enough seriousness was given to animal rape cases in the country.

Reportedly, the incident took place on a footbridge at Wagle Estate, at around 4:30pm on Tuesday.

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According to the police, the accused resides in Wagle Estate’s Road number 16. He used to make a living by doing a number of odd jobs, including manual scavenging. On Tuesday, a few boys, who regularly provide food to stray canines in the area, spotted the man sexually abusing the female dog. They immediately informed Aditi Nair, an animal rights activist in the area. Subsequently, Nair reported the crime to the local police.

According to reports, Nair said that police were initially “reluctant” to lodge a case against the accused.

Animal rights organisation, @myPALclub tweeted: “Rani's case is that of an animal rape. In a country where human rape is not taken seriously, what are the chances of justice in an animal rape case? Almost 0.”

Following this, Nair approached Thane Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar.

“He (Phansalkar) strictly told the concerned police to immediately act and make an ‘airtight’ case,” she added.

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Apparently, a day later, the local police registered an offence under the Indian Penal Code Section 377 (unnatural sex) and Section 11(a) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The accused was arrested and an investigation is being conducted into the case.