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Pet shops and breeders are notorious for cramped enclosures: Ayushi Sharma, campaign coordinator, PETA India

Potential guardians should also consider that it is irresponsible for anyone to support pet stores and breeders while millions of wonderful dogs and cats who deserve a chance to live a good life are on the streets and waiting in animal shelters, she added.

pune Updated: May 27, 2018 15:27 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,campaign coordinator
Ayushi Sharma with her favourite bunch of puppies. (HT Photo )

What are the issues that the pet industry is facing?
It's the animals who are facing problems as they are bought and sold by pet stores and breeders as if they are inanimate objects like shoes or teacups. Pet shops and breeders are notorious for cramped enclosures, filth, malnutrition, exposure, disease, separating very young animals from mothers, using females as breeding machines and dogs and cats who suffer as a result of a lack of socialisation and veterinary care. And while millions of dogs and cats struggle to survive on the street for lack of enough good homes, breeders produce litter after litter of puppies and kittens contributing to the overpopulation crisis. Every time someone buys a dog or cat from a breeder or pet shop, a homeless pup or kitten loses his or her chance at finding a good home. We can stop the cycle of animal homelessness, systemic animal abuse in the breeding industry and save lives by opening our hearts and homes to a dog or cat in need from a shelter or the street instead of buying animals from breeders or pet shops. It's also crucial to have our canine and feline companions sterilised in order to ensure that they don't bring more puppies and kittens into a world that is already short of good homes.

What about the breeding industry needs immediate action?
Potential guardians should also consider that it is irresponsible for anyone to support pet stores and breeders while millions of wonderful dogs and cats who deserve a chance to live a good life are on the streets and waiting in animal shelters. To address the current crisis of too many dogs and cats and not enough good homes, in the United States, various states have proposed mandatory sterilisation laws for companion animals. For example, the state of Rhode Island has adopted legislation which requires all cats to be sterilised except for certain circumstances. In 2008, Los Angeles County began requiring most dogs and cats to be sterilised by the time they are 4 months old. While municipalities are supposed to sterilise strays, India is in desperate need of similar legislation for companion dogs and cats.

What are the rates at which pets are sold in the industry?
According to one figure, about 6,00,000 animals become companion animals in India every year. However, animals are sensitive beings with thoughts and feelings and are not ours to buy and sell like rice or tea cups. Pet shops should be shut down altogether as long as wonderful dogs and cats are sitting homeless in all the shelters and refuges in India for lack of love and attention. Rules to protect animals are often ignored in India and profit is the primary aim of pet shops, never animal welfare. Pet shops and breeders often sell ill and injured animals to the unsuspecting public, fail to provide needed veterinary care to animals, keep animals in filthy cages and often fail to provide animals with adequate food or water. Dead animals can often be found at pet shops and breeders’ homes amongst the sick animals waiting to be sold. Animals that are not sold may be abandoned. Anyone who cares about animals must never buy an animal from a breeder or pet store, but should adopt a needy homeless animal from a shelter instead.

How can we put a stop to the bringing in of breeds not suitable for Indian climate?
People often think of Siberian Huskies are unsuitable for India’s climate, and that is true, but flat faced dogs like pugs also suffer. Indian community dogs are best suited for India’s climate. We encourage people who have the time, space, and resources to welcome a dog into their home to stay away from breeders and pet stores and adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue one from the street.

First Published: May 27, 2018 15:27 IST