For Immediate Release:
30 August 2013
Animal Rights Group Uncovers Untreated Illness and Other Suffering at Pitiful State-Run Facility
Chennai – An investigation commissioned by the Animal Welfare Board of India and conducted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has revealed rampant neglect and unabated animal suffering at Tamil Nadu’s Dog Breeding Unit (DBU), a state-run facility where Rottweilers, Dobermans and other dogs have been bred to be sold to the public. PETA has also discovered that the facility, which is run by the state’s Animal Husbandry Department in Chennai, is operating at a massive loss at taxpayers’ expense.
The 23 dogs observed at the DBU were denied adequate food and water, left to suffer with untreated diseases and never groomed. One dog had badly protruding bones and had been suffering from severe mange for five months. Some dogs were kept in solitary confinement, and all had nothing but hard, often faeces-strewn floors to sleep on. PETA also discovered that the DBU’s food expenses alone were four times what the facility had been earning from selling puppies.
Based on PETA’s report, the Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has issued a legal notice to Tamil Nadu’s Animal Husbandry Department calling for the facility’s closure and demanding that the dogs be sent to animal protection nongovernmental organisations for treatment. PETA is also calling for the immediate closure of the DBU and has offered to take custody of the dogs, provide them with veterinary care and find loving homes for them.
The treatment of dogs documented in PETA’s report appears to be in violation of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001. In further violation of the law, the DBU has not been authorised by the AWBI to operate.
“PETA has made authorities aware that Tamil Nadu’s Dog Breeding Unit has been denying dogs adequate food, water, and medical care to the point that they’ve been suffering for months on end from mange and other untreated ailments – all at taxpayers’ expense. We now look to the state government to do the right thing by shutting down this cruel facility and handing the dogs over to PETA for care and adoption”, says PETA India’s director of veterinary affairs, Dr Manilal Valliyate. “This facility is breeding dogs illegally at a time when the Chennai Municipal Corporation is taking drastic and illegal measures to control the dog population, such as planning to set up 15 so-called ‘shelters’ to imprison dogs. The state needs to reduce the number of homeless dogs, not add to it, and this can only be done through effective sterilisation programmes.”
The following is sample of some of PETA’s other findings:
• Many dogs were found to be suffering from severe skin diseases, including mange, a condition that causes so much itching and discomfort that affected dogs often cannot even sleep.
• Dogs were fed only once a day and given fresh water only twice a day. (Even Pedigree, the brand of dog food used at the DBU, advises that its food be given to dogs twice a day.)
• Dr Sujatha, the only veterinarian on staff at the DBU, admitted that the facility is short-staffed. Seven dogs have died there in the last year alone.
• Dogs kept alone were listless and appeared to be severely depressed.
All types of dogs – pedigrees included – are frequently abandoned and either end up in Tamil Nadu’s severely crowded animal shelters, along with homeless Indian community dogs, or are shuttled from house to house 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 waiting in an animal shelter loses his or her chance at finding a good home. Pet shops and breeders contribute significantly to the number of dogs living on the streets and in shelters. PETA encourages people who have the time, space and resources to welcome a dog into their home to stay away from breeders and pet stores and to choose to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or the street.
A preview link to video footage of the investigation can be found here, and broadcast-quality video footage can be downloaded here. PETA’s report detailing conditions at the DBU, including high-resolution photographs, is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.