A Stark Reality of Puppy Mills in India

Our furry friends not only warm our souls but leave indelible marks on the sands of time. For we are only reminded of the best friend who brightened our days when we look back. While walking my 11-year-old Pomeranian mix dog down a dusty Delhi street, I stumble across a litter of puppies everyday. I recalled as to how arduous it was for my uncle to find a home for the pups when his beloved dog gave birth, one of those puppies being my own dog. So what happens to these little lives on the street? Life on the streets must be difficult. But at the very most, they are free. Some stray puppies even make their way to a loving family! As these debating thoughts pass through my mind, I was  reminded of the subject of puppy mills in India.

As more families choose to add a dog to their homes as a result of the lonesome epidemic, concerns surrounding puppy mills in the country grows. India, as per Euromonitor International, is the world’s fastest growing pet industry. It is estimated by the Animal Welfare Board of India that the pet trade in India generates an annual revenue of approximately 278 crore. Puppy mills account for the majority of this. The strange desire of the affluent Indian to pay whatever it takes to possess a fancy breed is at the heart of the problem. Indians appear to have developed a bizarre obsession with pedigreed dogs, inevitably increasing the demand for such dogs. But bear in mind that demand is the only thing that keeps this business afloat. There is no supply if there is no demand. People acquire dogs without understanding if the dog is suited for their climatic circumstances, house, grooming, or nutritional requirements since pedigrees are considered as status symbols. According to Pradeep Yarra, an animal rights activist who was interviewed by The Times of India :

“We rescued three Great Dane dogs from a breeder a few months ago. All the three dogs had infected sores and were malnourished. One of them who was found with deep lacerations on one of the hind legs had to be amputated.”

This story exemplifies everything that is evil with puppy mills which are established around the nation. So terrible are the circumstances in puppy mills that they’re practically uninhabitable. Dog breeders frequently present a rosy image and try to attract clients to purchase by exhibiting  the breeds they offer as fancy in order to appeal to those who are unaware of the truth. Dogs in puppy mills survive in squalid surroundings that one can’t begin to fathom. Cooped up in a dimly lit, humid enclosure hardly their own size. These canines eat and drink tainted food and drinks, and they live in their own filth. If enclosures are placed vertically, urine and faces fall on dogs underneath, which is highly unsanitary. Caged dogs have blisters and sores from standing on the unpleasant wire flooring , and they can get wounded by  the sharp wire points. Little puppies are separated from their mother at an extremely young age. Female dogs are employed as breeding machines. They are bred at every chance, with no rest in between litters, which depletes their bodies and renders them incapable of producing puppies and when they can no longer give birth, they are dumped or even slaughtered by breeders.

Not to mention the mental anguish these poor dogs go through as a result of illnesses that are never addressed. Puppy mills are essentially commercial businesses that produce pups for sale, and the conditions in these ‘puppy farms’ are horrendous. Puppy mills are businesses that mass-breed tiny puppies with no concern for their quality, genes, or health. These places only allow breeders to maximise their profits while investing the least amount of money.

Approximately there are 35-40 million stray dogs in India. Unfortunately, most Indian streets are rife with wanton disregard for animal lives. During the lockdown, cases of ‘pedigree’ dogs being abandoned surged because people began to believe that pets were carriers of the epidemic. We can avoid contributing to harsh and unethical breeding methods by renouncing our fixation with ‘pedigree’ breeds. Instead adopt rescued Indies and abandoned purebreds in need of loving families. Keep in mind that every time you choose to purchase a “pedigree dog” from a breeder instead of choosing a mixed breed or purebred from a shelter, you’re encouraging and indirectly contributing to an unsavoury culture. Indian stray dogs are just as good as the purebred dogs that people buy. Indian Pariah dogs are stronger, more resistant to diseases, and very intelligent. What the general public needs to understand is that Indian dogs require less upkeep and are better suited to our environment. So ‘ADOPT AND DON’T SHOP’.

Here is an overview of laws regarding breeding in India:
* The minimum age for males and females selected for mating is 18 months old.
* At least ten days prior breeding, a licensed veterinary doctor must verify the dogs as healthy.
* Female dogs are only allowed to have 5 litters throughout their lives and cannot be artificially or forcibly mated. They are not allowed to conceive after the age of 8 and only one litter a year is allowed.
* Incest is prohibited, which means that dogs may not be mated with their parents, siblings, cousins, children etc. Instead, line breeding is permitted.
* Crossbreeding to produce ‘designer breeds’ is also prohibited.

Despite the fact that such regulations exist in India, they are rarely enforced. As of 2012, Ireland has already outlawed puppy mills, setting a brilliant example for other countries to follow. India has a long way to go in this front. As per General Regulations for Dog Breeding in India, dog breeders are required to register with their respective state’s State Animal Welfare Board. Numerous breeders lack this certification and function illegally. One may purchase a puppy from a pet store without knowing anything about the parents. In a closed genetic pool, pups are often born with deformities. What if you discover later that the dog was born with an abnormality? They would most likely be dumped or placed in a shelter to be cared after. Abandoning an animal, putting it in a condition where it experiences discomfort due to malnutrition or thirst, is a criminal violation under Section 11 I of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. But has it prevented innumerable folks from literally discarding animals on the roadside? If you’re reading this so far, you already know the answer. Illegal breeders must be detected and severely punished in seeking a solution to commercial breeding. The government must limit the importation of fancy breeds.

No one, not even someone who isn’t an animal lover, would wish the wretched life of a puppy mill on any animal. Consider your fur baby imprisoned in a dark area with no access to water, food, or other necessities. It breaks my even  heart to think about it. It is common knowledge that animals, particularly dogs, have a strong desire for affection. Well, all they need is love to conquer all. The existence of puppy mills hints at a greater crime perpetrated by humanity, namely the denial of love and friendship to these helpless canines. Canines in puppy factories are unlikely to experience the affection and love of an owner, with no one to ever call its own. Not to mention the impediments that comes with being a dog at a puppy farm. The sad reality being ,

” The mother of every puppy sold in a pet store will spend her life in a cage”.

– Uttara Jantwal

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