An Indian social media influencer has apologized after facing backlash for kicking a dog in an Instagram reel.
In the now-deleted video, the influencer, identified as Kajal Kiran, can be seen calling for a dog to come closer. As the dog approaches her, she kicks it away, causing the dog to yelp.
Kiran then smiles, and laughter can be heard from behind the camera.
Although the video was deleted from her Instagram account, Vidit Sharma, the founder of animal welfare center Save A Stray, reposted the video on Twitter.
“How can you be so insensitive toward these voiceless souls,” Sharma tweeted. “If you can’t love them don’t hurt them.”
The post has since gone viral, with several users voicing their anger toward Kiran’s behavior. Some users tagged the Mumbai police, citing animal abuse, while others reported her social media.
“Can someone provide details of this woman such as her social media handle?” one user wrote. “Will be filing criminal complaint against her. Such people are required to [be] taught a lesson.”
Following the heavy backlash, the content creator has since uploaded four apology videos on her Instagram account.
“I am sorry for my cruel act, this was a heat of moment,” Kiran wrote. “I regret my actions and didn’t realize the gravity at that point of time. I vow to not harm any animals.”
In the video message, she claims to have kicked the dog because she was scared. She also claims “abusing is common among the people of Delhi and Mumbai” to justify her actions. She then apologizes and also claims to be an animal lover.
In two other videos, the woman can be seen feeding stray dogs while reiterating her love for animals and asking viewers to forgive her for “one mistake.”
In a fourth video featuring a text apology, Kiran writes, “I made a big mistake unknowingly, I myself love animals. I have two dogs in my own house.”
In most parts of India, dogs are protected under The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act. Under Section 11 of the act, kicking an animal is considered animal cruelty. Although the punishment can include a fine of Rs 50 (approximately $0.62) for a first offense, animal welfare organizations have been calling for amendments to create a more effective deterrent.