How Paromita Fought Against Bad Health, Blackmail and Bullying....Won!

Kickstarting Animal Warriors, a series featuring those who fight selflessly for ‘Community Animals’, who have legal rights but only on paper, Manu Shrivastava speaks with Paromita Puthran about her journey from being petrified to hold a puppy, to having a family of two dogs and two cats, becoming a ‘dog lover’ in a ‘society’ and fighting battles for years, before finally…winning

A resolute Paromita with adopted Noddy, Persian cat Bailey, Indie cat Charlie and Brandy
Paromita Puthran is one tough Animal Warrior. Today, wherever she goes, to the neighbourhood grocer or to a friend, she is greeted with respect and accolades for the battle she fought…and won. After years of suffering at the hands of a formidable housing society’s managing committee members, an unfeeling neighbourhood and hurly-burly “bouncers” employed to “make life miserable” for her and her babies, she has fought them all. 

Despite intimidatory tactics by bouncers and threats by a hard-nosed committee, she stood stoic and all for her society’s dogs who “belonged to everyone” but were yet being chased out of their safe environs onto traffic-crazed roads at night where the risk to life and limb were high, abandoned in the dark of the night to distant areas even killed.

Left with no option, Paromita took the battle to court and…won! The going was far from being easy but needs to be told, like any other animal warrior’s journey riddled with threats and violence. 

Paromita’s life-long journey of loving animals began when her two sons insisted, they wanted a dog. For someone who would be petrified to even “hold a pup or a kitten,” it was a bold move. But one that “changed her life forever and introduced her to the most selfless and the truest form of love!”

Like most animal-lovers in urban settlements, Paromita too has had her share of struggles she had to overcome to be able to continue taking care of the strays dependent entirely on ‘humans’ like her. She went a mile ahead and became an Animal Warrior.

Paromita lives in Kandivali, a Western suburb in Mumbai, with her husband and two sons, in a housing society from a time when there were no community dogs to begin with.

When her sons insisted, the family brought a 45-day-old Golden Retriever they named Brandy. There was an initial reluctance in “cuddling” the pup as not only was Paromita scared but also untrained. 

After moving away to another house for a few years, where she started tending to the ‘strays’ of the area, she returned to her original housing society in December 2019. 

This time around, she found a cluster of new-born puppies in the society compound. Paromita took care of their vaccination and medication. Soon after, she began feeding them and a few other ‘stray’ dogs who would come for food as well.

Paromita would feed the ‘strays’ in the visitor’s parking space adjacent to the building. In the beginning, her driver would help her in feeding them, she later hired a feeder.

When the COVID pandemic struck, things changed. The visitors’ parking lot would get occupied by walkers and vehicles needing repairs. The Secretary of her society then informed Paromita that residents had begun to complain about the feeding situation. After months, on 13 October 2020, Paromita claims, the Secretary manhandled her driver while he was feeding the strays.

Society ‘Makes’ Its Own Laws

Soon after, following an altercation, Paromita says, the society decided that a designated feeding area had been identified ‘outside the society premises’ and in case any injury was caused to a stray due to an accident, the ‘caregiver’ will be solely responsible for the expenses that may arise.

Over the years, the number of community dogs has increased from eight in 2020 to 18 today “as stray dogs from nearby areas have started arriving too.” Today, all male dogs and all female dogs with the exception of one, with severe liver problems, have been neutered. 

Incidents of dogs getting hurt or killed owing to accidents kept increasing, in time. “When a pup got killed in a hit-and-run case, a police case was filed but they couldn’t find the culprit. And then, a few days later, there was another accident in which the dog broke a leg,” rued Paromita. The security personnel, she said, incredulously, maintained that other dogs had attacked it. “Now, that was, simply speaking, too outlandish to be true,” said Paromita.

A few days later, a pup, even before his eyes could open and born on the ground floor, ‘fell’ from the first floor into the electrical room below and got hurt. Due to its injuries, the pup could not manage to eat the food being provided every day which led to restricted growth and weakness.

Unable to bear its condition, Paromita decided to bring it home. She cleaned, medicated and fed the pup that started growing properly and got adopted as well. 

“The saddest part of this was that no one was pinning the onus on the person who had injured the innocent pup that had been left on the first-floor ledge to fall and die,” she spewed.

The agony didn’t end there. 

When Paromita learnt that, on one occasion, three dogs had been poisoned she had to run from pillar-to-post to get a post-mortem done, procure a toxicology report, etc. This, at a time, she was battling health issues and had to take care of everything by herself. 

She claims her helper even found ‘poisoned’ food left for the dogs. “But, predictably, the CCTV cameras from that area had been removed and the police were simply not interested in taking any action,” maintains Paromita.

When the repair work in the building started, the dogs were shifted. In another instance, a stray born in the building had, within days, got its hind limbs crushed in an accident. After treatment, on return, the mother didn’t accept him and Paromita was left with no option but to adopt the pup herself. He has grown into a cheerful two-and-a-half-year-old Noddy today.

Soon, things began to get nasty. In one instance, when she called out a male tenant, known to be a rash driver for causing an accident, the society supported him only to spite her. In another instance, the society hired security personnel to shoo the dogs away.

When another accident occurred, Paromita “took the carcass of the dead animal to the driver, the entire managing committee got together to badger me”.

In the meantime, the society started collecting Rs 500 each from pet owners, “without providing any receipt,” for cleaning up animal waste.

Bullying On WhatsApp Groups

In June 2022, the society hired a new manager who was “particularly rude and often misbehaved” with her. They created another WhatsApp group comprising ‘dog haters’ and would share hateful messages on the group.

And then, they stopped water for the strays. 

Paromita maintains that the society would garner support against her by appeasing members through myriad ways such as not naming defaulters, greasing the palms of employees to perform personal tasks of hate even supporting tenants who wouldn’t follow rules, but were supportive of their position.

After a few more accidents that left the dogs injured and the society failed to act, Paromita finally wrote to the Animal Welfare Board who reverted directing strict action against the perpetrators.

But the harming of ‘strays’ continued. “Why, even the cats weren’t spared. Kittens were left stranded on stairways, some even fell down and, in the convenient absence of CCTV cameras there, the culprits could never be found,” says Paromita.

Hiring Guards To Intimidate

In October last, the society devised a new way to dissuade Paromita. They prohibited her feeder from “feeding the strays” even “stopped her driver from entering the building premises” and harassed her maid who “had been working for years.” All the security and housekeeping staff were instructed to not talk to Paromita. All this with an aim to isolate and harass her so she “vacates the building altogether.” 

Left with no resort, despite her work commitments and other personal responsibilities, Paromita began feeding the dogs herself. In time, “the society hired bouncers, first male then female, whose job was to start shooing away the dogs with sticks,” whenever she would feed them. 

“This would scare the dogs who would run away,” says Paromita. For days on end, she could not find the strays who had bolted to save themselves. The dogs would be traumatised. The harassment continued and she had to finally start feeding the dogs “in the building ducts in extremely unhygienic conditions,” just so that they could eat in peace.  

In December 2022, when she had to take a five-day trip outside Mumbai, owing to dangerous conditions in the society, she had to keep four dogs at a dog care, at her own expense, while the remaining were left to fend for themselves.

On returning to her home, the bullying continued. When she would step out of her apartment, “10-12 bouncers would be waiting in the corridor with lathis, striking them against the floor,” as they’d follow her each time she’d go to feed the dogs.

The worst was from October till December when the dogs couldn’t enter the society premises even during cold nights after crossing a fence as they normally would. 

“The society went to an extent to construct a high wall to prevent them from entering. All the warm places where the dogs could sit were blocked in one way or the other. Some with physical impediments even stones and rubble.”

Paromita now started feeding the dogs late at night or early in the morning. In February, three-year-old Oreo, another society dog, met with an accident after which he could barely walk owing to a spinal injury.

“And, another dog was found to have suffered an internal injury that seemed like a blunt trauma inflicted, probably, by one of the bouncers,” says Paromita. Despite all the medical care and treatment, the dog did not recover.

...And, Justice Prevails!

In a petition filed by Paromita Puthran, regarding a dispute related to the designated feeding areas for the dogs and providing drinking water to the dogs, a Bombay High Court’s Division Bench of G S Kulkarni and R N Laddha JJ., in April 2023, ruled in favour of Paromita Puthran.

On the issue of availability of drinking water for dogs, the Court noted “it is the obligation of the residents of the society to always make provision for adequate water to be made available to the animals more particularly considering the onset of the summer season.”

The Bench maintained, “In so far as the Security Guards causing any scare/threat to the animals by using sticks is concerned, we direct the Society to entertain complaints from the petitioner and other members of the society in this regard, so that appropriate action can be taken against such Security Guards who are indulging in such actions. 

This would be necessary as we are of the clear opinion that such coercive methods would certainly amount to an act of cruelty to the animals. This apart, such methods being used by the Security Guards or any other persons would aggravate the behaviour of the animals, apart from inflicting cruelty to the animals. the animals.”

This Animal Warriors feature is published as part of ‘The L.E.A.P For Animals Project’ – A DraftCraft International initiative with media partner The Draft.  L.E.A.P stands for Law.Education.Advocacy.Practice and the project aims to protect the rights of animals by helping formulate inclusive laws, sensitise and educate by media. To say your story, volunteer, seek advice or legal intervention, send a mail to or message on WhatsApp on +91 8080441593.

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