Madras High Court Orders Closure of State-Run Dog-Breeding Facility
8 December 2016
PETA Case and Animal Welfare Board’s Recommendation Prompt Decision to Close the Facility
Chennai – Yesterday, after a fresh application filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, a bench headed by the chief justice of the Madras High Court ordered the complete shut-down and closure within two months of the dog-breeding unit (DBU) run by the Tamil Nadu Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Department. The court observed that no further inspections of the DBU shall be allowed and that it will not contemplate beyond the scope of its previous judgement, dated 4 August 2014.
Through its previous order and judgement, the court had granted three months’ time for the DBU to improve and had also ordered that the facility be shut down – based on the findings of a subsequent inspection by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) – if it failed to make the required improvements and if the board recommended that it be closed. The AWBI inspection revealed that dogs at the DBU suffered from a high prevalence of skin diseases, pressure sores, and ectoparasites and that there was also a high mortality rate – and in a letter dated 21 April 2015, it recommended that the state government shut down the facility. However, this advice wasn’t implemented, prompting PETA India to file an application seeking to clarify the court order.
“Selling dogs for profit and keeping them sick and dying in miserable conditions should have no place in state affairs”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “With so many dogs already homeless in Tamil Nadu, PETA encourages people who have the resources and time to welcome one into their home to adopt from their local animal shelter or the street.”
The AWBI inspection report further explains that the DBU failed to comply with important terms and conditions set forth by the AWBI while registering dogs at the facility under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, and failed to implement a breeding policy as well as a standard operating procedure to prevent indiscriminate breeding and health problems caused by inbreeding. Dogs at the DBU were kept constantly jailed without any enrichment, and many of the animals showed signs of stress and depression, including a male Chippiparai named Pandy, who constantly bit the bars of his kennel. Despite the facility’s policy of “de-ticking” all animals once a week, dogs were found infested with ticks. Many of them also suffered from dermatitis or mange – both painful skin conditions. No breeding records were kept, leaving dogs produced by the facility particularly vulnerable to genetic defects caused by inbreeding. A report submitted by Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University during the performance improvement period granted by the court states that “[f]rom the records, it was also found that the mortality rate of the pups from birth to sales is above the permissible level of 5 to 25% for Rottweiler, Labrador and [Doberman]”.
Pet shops and breeders contribute significantly to the number of dogs living on the streets and in shelters because the animals they sell are often abandoned. The Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Department claims that the DBU exists to promote breeds found in Tamil Nadu, including the Rajapalayam – which is prone to deafness, a shorter life span, numerous health problems, and extremely low immunity levels because of deliberate breeding for certain unnatural physical traits, such as white skin and a rosy nose. Other native breeds, such as the Kombai, which DBU kept for breeding, are commonly used for hunting, which is illegal, and are considered to be aggressive in nature and not suitable for homes with children. Such dogs are commonly relegated to a life in chains.
All types of dogs – pedigrees included – are frequently abandoned and end up in Tamil Nadu’s severely crowded animal shelters, on the streets with India’s homeless-dog community, or being shuttled from house to house for their entire lives as buyers tire of them. Every time someone buys a dog from a breeding facility such as the DBU, a dog on the streets or in an animal shelter loses his or her chance at finding a good home.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.