The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to close down the dog breeding unit at Saidapet in Chennai, which is run by the animal husbandry department, within the next two months.
The dogs in the unit would be rehabilitated with the assistance of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), the court said.
In 2014, while disposing off two PILs- one from People of Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, Mumbai and the other from E Seshan- the HC had given three months’ time to the unit to conform to the recommendations made by AWBI. The AWBI would then carry out fresh inspections and if it felt that its rules were not followed, the unit would be asked to shut down.
On Wednesday, the bench examined the fresh inspection report by the AWBI dated March 2015. The report stated that the unit did not comply to the important terms and conditions set by the AWBI while registering the dogs at the unit under Animal Birth Control(Dogs) rules 2001.
It said that there was a high prevalence of health problems among the animals, particularly skin diseases, and the mortality rate due to inbreeding was also high. The report found that the animals also had pressure sores, ectoparasites and were continuously confined.
The petitioners alleged that the dog breeding unit which is run by the Animal Husbandry Department of Tamil Nadu State is run in contravention of the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1980 and the rules framed there under.
The dog breeding unit in Saidapet was established in the year 1980-81 with a view to preserve native dog breeds of the state including Rajapalayam, Chippiparai, Kombai. At present, the unit is also breeding foreign dogs.
The Animal Welfare Board of India in its inspection found several irregularities. It found that the unit is not even registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India and as a result is in violation of rules.
It recommended the shutting down of the unit on account of cruelty and illegality and asked for the funding used by the breeding unit to be directed towards the state animal births control programmes that encourages the adoption of dogs from animal shelters or streets.
The petitioners also sought directions for the treatment of the dogs currently at the unit so that the animals can be adopted into loving homes.