The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India, has renewed its call to Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Parshottam Rupala to urgently amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, to prohibit the keeping, breeding, and sale of foreign breeds of dogs bred for fighting and aggression, such as pitbulls, as well as dogs bred for illegal racing contests and brachycephalic dog breeds.
This comes in the wake of the second pit bull attack in Meerut where a teenager has been critically injured, just days after an elderly woman in Lucknow was mauled to death by her son’s pitbull.
In a statement, PETA said that brachycephalic dogs, such as pugs, suffer from breathing difficulties that often require corrective surgery.
PETA India seeks central legal amendments designed to safeguard these breeds from such cruel exploitation.
PETA India Veterinary Policy Advisor, Nithin Krishnegowda, said: “The two back-to-back attacks are a wake-up call that if India continues to allow dogs typically used for cruel human exploits such as criminal dogfighting to be bred, more people will get hurt. A prohibition on all breeds used for unlawful fighting and racing and those with breathing difficulties would protect these dogs from being born only to face cruelty and suffering and protect many humans too.”
In India, inciting dogs to fight is illegal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. Yet organised dogfights are prevalent in Punjab, Haryana, other parts of north India, and Rajasthan, making pitbulltype dogs used in these fights the most abused dog breeds.
They are commonly bred to be used in illegal fighting or kept on heavy chains as attack dogs, resulting in a lifetime of suffering.
Many endure painful physical mutilations such as ear-cropping, an illegal process that involves removing part of a dog’s ears to prevent another dog from grabbing them in a fight, thereby losing the fight. In a fight, the dogs are encouraged to continue until both dogs become exhausted and at least one gets seriously injured or dies.
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), the statutory body established under Section 4 of the PCA Act, 1960, states that greyhound races commonly held in Punjab are illegal.
Meanwhile, foreign brachycephalic dogs such as pugs, popularised in India by commercials, are known to suffer severe respiratory problems such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome and eye and skin disorders.
Pugs and other brachycephalic dogs such as Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Lhasa Apsos are also predisposed to proptosis due to their shallow eye orbits, a condition in which the eye bulges out of its socket and that requires emergency surgery.
Cavalier King Charles spaniels, also a brachycephalic breed, suffer from syringomyelia, a condition in which a dog’s skull is too small for their brain as they are bred for an unnaturally small head.