CHENNAI: Changing the way pets are traded in the country, the Centre has brought in a series of conditions, restrictions and technology-enabled measures such as microchip embedded in pups to streamline the trade.
These new rules were introduced in May, but garnered little attention after another part of the notification, dealing with the restriction on cattle sale for slaughter, snowballed into a major controversy.
Under the new rules, pups can no longer be bought from a pet shop, but only from a registered breeder, and only those which have microchip embedded in their scruff. This will contain records of vaccination, details of owner, breed, age and other information, so that the State Animal Welfare Board will be able to track the owner of an abandoned pet.
Breeders are not allowed to sell pups that are less than eight weeks old, and dogs older than six months cannot be sold without sterilising, unless to another licenced breeder.
The job of the breeder, however, does not end with selling the pups. The breeder is responsible to track the progress and health of all dogs at least once a year and also send a report to the State Board about the number of animals sold, traded, bartered, brokered, given away, boarded, exhibited or any such information required by the board.
According to activists, although the cost of pedigree dogs will go up due to these restrictions, strict regulations will discourage backyard breeding and abandoning. SAWB and the Department of Animal Husbandry will be the nodal agencies
It will no longer be legal to put up pups on display for immediate sale, under the new rules that the Centre introduced in May to regulate breeding and sale of dogs. “In other countries, one makes an initial payment to a registered breeder and waits till enough people sign up. The dogs are bred after this. The clients pick from the litter on a first-come-first-served basis, and tie a collar for the pup they pick. They come back and take them after two months,” said Shravan Krishnan, an animal activist from Chennai.
The move to have microchips and also record sale and transfer of dogs will help reduce instances of abandoning pets.
There are several cases of pet owners who are cheated with wrong breeds or those who buy dogs impulsively, leaving these animals on streets when they grow older. Chances of pure breeding increases with registered organisations, and also increases the number of healthy dogs.
“I posed as a potential buyer and found brutal living conditions in breeding houses. Some dogs are treated as birth-giving machines. The implementation of these regulations will mean that dogs won’t be bred more than once in two years,” Shravan added.
To implement these measures, however, Tamil Nadu will have to start from scratch. “It’s interesting to note that Tamil Nadu has no account of registered breeders so far,” said a senior official from the Animal Welfare Board of India.