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Dog owners, watch out

india Updated: Jan 07, 2009 01:00 IST
Aditya Ghosh

If you own a pedigree bitch, get cracking. The Animal Welfare Board of India has dug up a seven-year-old rule and told dog breeders to register their canines in 29 days, or face a heavy fine.

The problem is anyone who owns the female of a pedigree breed can be termed a breeder and faces punitive action. The rules are not very clear on who is a breeder. Neither has the penalty been decided.

The AWBI framed a law in 2001 making registration compulsory to stop inbreeding, which had shrunk the gene pool of pedigree dogs in the country.

But why enforce it now? “Seven years on, we find that not a single breeder or dog owner had registered with us. We had little choice but to ensure stricter enforcement this time,” said D. Rajashekhar, secretary, AWBI.

The announcement was made by the Chennai-based AWBI on Monday.

Dalmatians and German Shepherds have been the worst sufferers of inbreeding, said the AWBI’s Maharashtra representative JC Khanna. “If a bitch breeds more than once a year for two or three years, the population lacks genetic variety required for pups to be healthy. These diseased pups end up abandoned,” he said. “Many cases of dogs with fits are reported at the animal hospital in Parel due to such genetic defects.”

However, dog owners feel the rule is not practical.

“There is no logic in what AWBI wants to achieve. All pedigree dog owners now have the onus of registering, as there is no foolproof guideline to prove who is a breeder and who isn’t,” said Sheela Nalwal, state representative of Kennel Club of India.

Mumbai-based Indian National Kennel Club, another agency that holds records of dog breeders, has also contested AWBI’s rule.

Rajasekhar said the forms will be up in the website by Wednesday and the fee decided.