An online petition has been started on Avaaz, which seeks to stop the killing of Army dogs and horses after they grow old or fail a fitness test. The petition titled "Indian Army - Give them medals, not death sentences" is adressed to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and urges him "scrap this senseless practice and introduce a humane policy that retires these animals with care and protection."An RTI from the Army last week sought details about the method of disposal of animals, including dogs, in the Army . The Army replied saying "Horses and dogs are evaluated for their fitness with respect to the performance of duties. The animals which are considered unfit for one month active service are disposed of by humane euthanasia."When asked why they were not retired, an army official also said "They are familiar with the base location, it will not be good if they end up in civilian hands," a report in the Economic Times adds.The online petition already has more than 8,000 signatures at the time of writing. The petition also demands that the army must retire the animals in shelters and ensure that they are protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act."These brave animals regularly save citizens' lives and should be given medals, not death sentences," it adds. Many animal rights groups like the Blue Cross and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have also critisized this move by the Indian Army.