Man Takes Dog to Court for 'Horrible Offense'

Megan Van Schaick

untouchable dogDid you even know you could take a dog to court?

In India you can!

India is a country where the caste system is alive and kicking (unfortunately) -- meaning the country takes classism to a whole new level. There are the upper echelons of society, the wealthy, who are considered twice born -- basically, miles better than anyone else. There's a middle strata that isn't horrible, but certainly doesn't come close to being twice born. And then there are the untouchables -- who are exactly what their name suggests. They are not acknowledged by the upper classes and consorting with them in any way immediately renders both parties untouchable.

An upper class man recently took his dog -- his dog -- to court because the dog had dared consort with an untouchable.

In case you didn't get that: He took his dog to court. Dog. To. Court.

What was the horrible offense, you ask?

Sheru the dog dared, dared, to accept a nibble of food from an untouchable woman. While his owner let him freely roam the streets, I might add.

According to Rampal Singh, the owner, the mere fact that Sheru accepted the roti made him untouchable as well. Naturally, an upper class man cannot abide harboring an untouchable lest he, too, become contaminated.

So what did he do?

Hired a judge (nothing like a bit of bribery here and there). Astonishingly, the judge decided in Singh's favor.

Sheru was officially excommunicated from the family and Sanita, the untouchable who shared her lunch, was legally forced to adopt Sheru -- or face fines of 15,000 rupees. That's only $332 to us, but you can imagine what a sum that would be to someone who barely scrapes by.

Sanita has appealed the ruling by filling a formal complaint, but I'm sure you can imagine how that's going to go over. Meanwhile, Sheru is left out in the cold, having gone from a plush upper-class life to being tied to a pole in the center of town.

What do you think about Sheru's treatment? Is it fair to extend the caste system to animals who can't care for themselves?


Image via BBC

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