A man in New Delhi, India, now faces animal cruelty charges for attempting to literally send his pet dog to the skies by tying it to helium balloons and letting go. Gaurav Sharma posted the video of the incident on his Youtube page, which has over 4 million subscribers.
In the clip, which has since been deleted, Sharma can be seen sitting on top of his car, holding two dogs, including his own, called Dollar, which already has the balloons tied to its back. He then does a three-second countdown before he lets go of the pooch, which floats up to the balcony of a nearby house.
According to local media reports, the video was shot on 21 May 2021 and sparked outrage, especially amongst animal rights activists around the world. The backlash to the video prompted Sharma to take it down and subsequently apologising.
“Please don’t take it wrong. When we will fly Dollar, we will take all safety precautions,” he is quoted as saying in one part of the now-deleted video.
Watch: Video of ‘flying’ dog sparks outrage
The video also shows Gaurav Sharma’s preparation for the big take-off – including the purchasing of the balloons and him enquiring with a shopkeeper about how many would be needed to send Dollar to the skies.
A member of rights group ‘People for Animals Society’ laid a complaint against him. He now faces charges related to the Prevention to Cruelty to Animal Act, the Indian Penal Code and the Disaster Management Act.
In a later video, Sharma assured people that all the necessary safety measures were considered in filming the video.
“I got influenced by videos from abroad and I deeply apologize if anyone is hurt looking at the video of Dollar. I will never do this again and would request others to not get influenced by this act. I love my dog Dollar a lot and would want everyone to look at the moments I share with Dollar ever since I brought him to my house,” Sharma said.