Forcing dogs to fight is illegal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, but a Fauna Police investigation provided to PETA India has revealed that dogs like pit bulls, Pakistani bully kuttas, and mastiffs are being mangled and killed in secretly organised fights staged in open fields and dogfighting rings in places such as Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh as well as the union territories of Delhi and Jammu.
Footage shared with PETA India by Fauna Police shows dogs charging at each other and ripping into each other’s faces, throats, torsos, and legs. These horrendous fights can last up to two hours. Common injuries include severe bruising, deep puncture wounds, and broken bones. The bloody ordeal often leaves the dogs too exhausted to go on or even defend themselves. Some die in the ring, while others succumb soon afterwards to exhaustion and injuries. Their deaths can be caused by blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight.
LOSERS WILL DIE
The dogs who lose fights or refuse to fight are used as target practice or killed by their owners. For instance, after learning of a video of a man shooting and killing his own pit bull in Punjab, which had gone viral on social media, PETA India worked closely with the police to file a case under Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, as well as under various sections of the PCA Act, 1960, and to help nab the perpetrators, who were booked for the crime.
PRACTICING ON COMMUNITY DOGS AND WILDLIFE
Dogs used for fights are often also trained through practice sessions with community dogs, who are no match for them, as well as Asian palm civets, foxes, leopards, wild boars, and other wild animals, in violation of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
TURNING PUPPIES INTO KILLERS
Training begins when the dogs are still puppies, and as they mature, they are incited to be so violent that they can only be separated or controlled using sticks.
CASHING IN ON CRUELTY
Why are these dogs being forced to fight to the death? For money. Dogfighting is a form of gambling. All this cruelty is just for a bet.
PIT BULLS – THE MOST ABUSED DOG BREED
Pit bulls were originally bred for bull- and bear-baiting (a cruel form of entertainment in which dogs are incited to attack a captive bull or bear). Bear-baiting still takes place in Pakistan. Such dogs are now also commonly bred for illegal fighting in India and kept on heavy chains as guard and attack dogs. Many endure painful physical mutilations such as ear-cropping – an illegal process that involves cutting part of a dog’s ears to prevent another dog from grabbing them during a fight. All of this cruelty makes them fearful and often unable to discern between friend and foe.
HUMAN VICTIMS ALSO PAY THE PRICE
Dogs are not the only ones who pay for the cruelty inherent in dogfighting.
According to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, dog breeders must register themselves with their respective state animal welfare board. Similarly, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, makes it a requirement for pet shops to be registered with their state’s animal welfare board. But recent right to information replies reveal that most pet shops and breeders in India are not registered. Member of Parliament Maneka Gandhi recently stated that there are over 1 lakh illegal pet shops and breeders in the country.
Such unscrupulous traders often sell dangerous foreign breeds like pit bulls to unsuspecting members of the public without any warning that these dogs have been bred for fighting. Some of these people keep the dogs in cages or chained up. Intensive confinement or long-term restraint severely damages dogs’ psychological well-being and can harm them physically, too. Dogs treated in this way can become neurotic, anxious, and aggressive.
In just the last two months, there has been news of a pit bull attack in Meerut in which a teenager was critically injured, another pit bull attack which left a 13-year-old from Punjab with a mangled ear, a woman who was left in a critical condition after a pit bull attack in Gurugram, and an elderly woman in Lucknow who was mauled to death by her son’s pit bull.
WHAT PETA INDIA IS SEEKING
To protect foreign breeds of dogs like pit bulls predominantly used for criminal dogfighting and as guard and attack dogs, PETA India seeks an urgent amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, to prohibit the keeping and breeding of such dogs. PETA India advises that the prohibition on pit bull–type dogs can be achieved by requiring owners to declare breeds placed on the prohibited list for mandatory sterilisation and government registration within a month of the issuance of a directive by states and union territories as well as by prohibiting any new dogs of these breeds from being bred, kept, or sold after a stipulated date immediately following the completion of that month.
PETA India is also seeking the closure of illegal pet shops and breeders and a crackdown on illegal dogfights throughout the nation.