Pune Dogs Are Finalists in PETA’s ‘Cutest Indian Dog Alive’ Contest

For Immediate Release:
3 September 2012

Chani Singh; [email protected]
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

The Vote Is on to Name the Country’s Top Rescued Pooch

Pune, Maharashtra – After sifting through hundreds of photographs of lovable Indian community dogs, as well as their rescue stories, the judges have selected Heidi, whose guardian is Devangi Pantankar of Pune, and Leo, whose guardian is Pune’s Hrishikesh Patil, as finalists in PETA’s first-ever Cutest Indian Dog Alive contest. Devangi adopted Heidi after she found the puppy huddled and shivering in the corner of a tennis court during the rainy season. Now, two and a half years later, Devangi says, “We still feel immensely blessed that she is in our lives”. Hrishikesh rescued Leo after the puppy’s mother died when he was only a week old. Hrishkesh says that Leo is “bringing happiness to everyone”. PETA believes that it’s time to champion the Indian dog, so the contest makes the point that the kindest thing that a prospective guardian can do is rescue a dog from the streets. Now, it’s time to vote to help PETA decide who it should choose as India’s top (rescued!).

“Heidi and Leo are lucky dogs, indeed, and they have has returned the favour of being rescued by bringing tons of love and joy into the lives of their families”, says PETA India campaign coordinator Chani Singh. “All rescued dogs are already winners because their lives were saved by people who love them for who they are.”

The lucky pup who is named the Cutest Indian Dog Alive will receive a “100% Desi Dog” doggie T-shirt, and his or her guardian will receive a “My Dog Is a Rescue” T-shirt as well as an autographed copy of PETA India founder Ingrid E Newkirk’s book Let’s Have a Dog Party! The second- and third-place winners will also receive prizes, and all three top placers will appear in an upcoming issue of Animal Times, PETA India’s magazine for members.

PETA urges prospective guardians to adopt an Indian community animal rather than buying puppies (or kittens) sold in pet shops. Because pedigree dogs are bred for certain exaggerated physical traits, such as long ears and drooping backs, many foreign breeds of dogs suffer from various issues including 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 are.

To read all the finalists’ rescue stories and to vote, please visit PETAIndia.com.