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One-day Animal Police

Rosek Nursahid with an RSPCA inspectorRosek Nursahid with an RSPCA inspector

When I visited UK in September 2010 to represent ProFauna to receive Special Investigation Award from the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), I had wonderful time to be an "animal police" for a day. I was invited by RSPCA to spend a day with RSPCA inspector, the "animal police" who handles animal cruelty and crime in UK. Different from the regular police which is under the government, this "animal police" was set up by the RSPCA in 1824, couple years before the regular police was established.

The RSPCA inspectors similarly wears uniform like the police officer, the uniform which worn before by the latter. RSPCA inspectors respond to calls from the public to investigate alleged mistreatment of animals. They offer advice and assistance to improve animal welfare, and in some cases prosecute under laws.

I was lucky to be given the opportunity to join an inspector even though for just one day. That day, Joynes, the inspector, and I had to visit two locations for two cases. The first case was reported by a caller whose neighbor neglected his horses and the second was a report about someone who hit a dog. In UK, inhumane treatment towards animals, despite they are your own pets, would be penalized. It amazed me how the animal rights were enforced and fully protected by law.

For the first case, we headed for the location as directed by the GPS-ed navigator. Arriving at the destination, there was no one, only the two horses that looked "happy", covered by blankets and they were active instead of looking stressed. Because there was no body to be interviewed, Inspector Joynes made note that the horses were in good condition based on his observation.

The second case we dealt with was the case dog hitting. When we arrived at the location, we met a man who was not too friendly for our presence. He denied for hitting the dog, in fact the dog had died (we were expecting it died naturally instead of being hit). Inspector Joynes continued to probe the information and record the owner. The man kept denying. Because there was not enough evidence (his dog was not there which was impossible to check the physical condition), we left the house.

If the RSPCA inspector found no strong evidence of cruelty to animals, the inspector can ask the police to detain the person. Still, an Inspector has no authority to arrest, but he has the authority to conduct inspections and take the case to the police or the courts.

Spending about two weeks in UK to follow series of activities including joining the RSPCA inspector in handling animal cases, it was like a spiritual experience for me, an experience that enriches my mind to help the neglected animals. In Islam, a religion professed by most of Indonesian people, it is clearly narrated about Islam concerns for animal. In a verse, it is told that a prostitute go to paradise because she was once gave a thirsty dog a drink. This shows that a good deed for animal is highly rewarded by the Almighty; unfortunately not many of Indonesian Moslems know this.

How wonderful if in my beloved country, humans can live peacefully with fellow human beings and also with animals and live in harmony with the nature. It may take long time but at least ProFauna has started it. We think that the most important thing we should take action, now, starting from me and you.

(Rosek Nursahid, Founder of ProFauna, email: rosek@profauna.org)