Lucknow, July 19: The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has written to minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Purshottam Rupala, calling for an urgent amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017.
PETA India is seeking change to prohibit the keeping and breeding of foreign dogs bred for fighting and aggression, such as pit bulls, dogs bred for illegal racing contests, and brachycephalic dog breeds.
This comes in the wake of the recent incident in which an elderly woman in Lucknow was mauled to death by her Pitbull.
Similar incidents are occurring globally and causing countries and states to ban 'bully' breeds, Brachycephalic dogs, such as pugs, suffer from difficulty in breathing that often requires corrective surgery.
PETA India seeks legal amendments designed to safeguard these breeds from such cruel exploitation.
Dr Manilal Valliyate, veterinarian and CEO of PETA India, said in a release that "Dogs are suffering for cruel human exploits such as criminal dogfighting and illegal racing and because many people treat them like toys rather than living, feeling beings. 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."
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, and other parts of north India, making pit bull-type dogs used in these fights the most abused dog breed.
Pitbull-type dogs 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 in a fight from grabbing their ears, thereby losing the fight. In a fight, the dogs are encouraged to continue until both dogs become exhausted and at least one is seriously injured or dies.
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) - the statutory body established under Section 4 of PCA Act, 1960 - states that greyhound races commonly held in Punjab are illegal.
Dogs used for racing are commonly confined to small, barren kennels, denied adequate veterinary care, and suffer painful and often lethal injuries, such as broken backs and limbs. Uncompetitive dogs and those who slow with age are often abandoned by the time they are three. Commercial dog racing does not occur or is prohibited in most countries.
Meanwhile, foreign brachycephalic dogs such as pugs, popularised in India by the popular Vodafone commercials, are known to suffer severe respiratory problems such as brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) and eye and skin disorders.
Pugs and other brachycephalic dogs such as Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Lhasa Apso 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.