Sunday, July 18, 2004

Dozens of Beheaded Dogs Found in Puttaparthi

Some 30 dog heads were found discarded in a river near Puttaparthi godman Sai Baba's main center, police said Friday.

Police are investigating the bizarre incident near the river Chitravathi on suspicion of violation of animal protection law and vandalism, an official at nearby Police Department said.

The severed heads were mostly decomposed and some of them were skeletal, the police official said. The shape and size of the heads suggested they were of adult dogs, he said, adding that advanced decomposition was due to the intense heat and that investigators believed no human heads were included.

He said police were planning on removing the heads from the water.

Late Friday, an 82-year-old man who runs the ashram Public Relations office admitted to dumping the dog heads into the moat, and police are questioning him, public broadcaster Andhra TV said.

The man, whose name was not released, told police that he had decided to personally solve the pest problem in the ashram. "All the dogs gather to terrorise the tourists in our hashram by begging for food and then pissing at their feet. Not only are they flea-infested but they have sex all over the place and breed more of the little buggers! Is this any way for gullible foreigners to come here and enjoy the leisure facilities without seeing these disgusting sights?"

He further explained that the Prashanti Council were unable to deal with the problem as it would involve considerable expense to post more sevadals at the various entrance points around the ashram perimeter, adding that devotees also regard these dogs as the reincarnations of various saints from around the world and therefore it is difficult to discipline them. "All this time we have been beating them with sticks but they haven't learned, the little rascals, so we had to come up with a final solution," he grinned with obvious glee while rubbing his hands.

Police were not available late Friday to comment on the report.