Lucknow Dog Takes First Place In PETA’s ‘Cutest Indian Dog Alive’ Contest

For Immediate Release:
29 September 2014

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]
Shambhavi Tiwari; [email protected]

Group Names Santa Claus the Top Dog

Lucknow – After hundreds of votes and careful deliberation by judges from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, Santa Claus, whose guardian is Ankita Saini of Lucknow, beat out nine other finalists to be crowned the first-place winner of PETA’s third annual Cutest Indian Dog Alive contest. Santa Claus had earlier edged out hundreds of other lovable “community dogs” to become one of the 10 finalists. PETA created the contest to show that the kindest thing that a prospective guardian can do is to adopt an Indian dog from the streets or an animal shelter. The second-place winner of the contest is Maggie, whose guardian is Piyush Chopawar of Nagpur, and the third-place winner is Cujo, whose guardian is Sanjukta Sivakumar of Surat.

“Santa Claus proves that adopting a dog from the streets or a shelter can fill your life with a joy and love that words can’t express”, says PETA CEO Poorva Joshipura. “Although Santa Claus has won our contest, all rescued dogs are winners because they have found loving homes.”

Saini named this cutie Santa Claus because she rescued him on Christmas 2013. “He was wandering alone on the street, looking disturbed and lost, when he was found”, she says.

PETA urges prospective guardians to adopt Indian community animals instead of buying puppies (or kittens) sold in pet shops. Because pedigree dogs are bred for certain exaggerated physical traits, such as long ears or drooping backs, many foreign breeds of dogs suffer from breathing problems, cancer, heart disease, bleeding disorders, skeletal malformation and eye problems. In contrast, Indian community dogs are healthier and more robust than their purebred cousins.

Santa Claus will receive a first-place certificate and a “100% Desi Dog” doggie T-shirt, and Saini will receive a “My Dog Is a Rescue” T-shirt as well as an autographed copy of PETA India founder Ingrid Newkirk’s book Let’s Have a Dog Party!

For more information about Santa Claus and the two runners-up, please visit

The winners were selected by PETA based on several factors, including vote count.