The harrowing truth of puppy mills in India
The term ‘mill’ is a familiar word which implies a factory, processing plant or a workshop.
The term 'mill' is a familiar word which implies a factory, processing plant or a workshop. Likewise, the puppy mill is a factory to breed dogs of all shapes and sizes and in India it is the factory to produce western dogs in bulk to meet the demand of the obsession with western breeds. There are two types of breeders -ethical and unethical. The ethical breeders take care of the breeding requirements as per the laws and regulations by the Government of India. Unfortunately, they are scarce in numbers while unethical breeders have dominated the market where profit is paramount over life. They show little or no consideration about the physical or mental conditions of the mother that leads to a harrowing life, forcibly impregnated to bear litters of pups and ending up as trash when their reproductive organs no longer bear the desired fruit. They are neither taken to the vet for regular examinations nor are given healthy food. The deplorable conditions of the kennels which are not cleaned frequently pose a health risk to the mother and hence, babies born to such mothers might have physical and mental ailments. This is a major reason why many puppies who are adopted from such breeders either end up in the streets or in the shelters. Also, when the puppies are separated before the weaning period, they suffer mental stress without being nurtured under the wings of the mother. This could lead to aggression and also a change in their personality and many times such puppies do not respond to proper training and end up being abandoned. So the cute-looking western breed that many of us are obsessed with could have descended from a background that we could hardly comprehend. As a responsible dog lover/pet parent, it could be wise to get a pup from an ethical breeder that has proper a set-up which functions according to the requirements laid by the Government.
The Government of India has laid down laws that govern the rules and regulations of ethical breeding. The recent edition of 2017 is referred to as 'The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017. According to this edition, a breeder has to follow the mandatory steps mentioned below in order to legally run a breeding facility:
1. Registration is mandatory - This rule states no breeder under any circumstances can indulge in breeding activity with the intent of sale without a certificate of registration of the owner and the facility as well. The certificates must be displayed on the front office all the times and the facility should always be open for any inspection by the local authorities. The owner has to be 18 years of age and above to get a registration in his/her name. The registration is usually valid for two years and needs to be renewed accordingly before the expiry date.
2. Inspection by the authorities -The State/local board usually inspects the registered facilities once a year. The inspector will have access to all the records and areas of the facility. There can be sudden visits on receiving any complaints or if other inspection need arises. The breeder has to be in compliance of the laws stated at all times of the year in order to avoid any fines or closure.
3.Requirements of sale - For the proper physical and mental growth of the puppies, it is very crucial to be nurtured by their mother until the age of eight weeks. Hence, puppy sale below the said age is prohibited. The breeder is required to screen the buyers to evaluate if they would be able to give a forever loving home and able to bear the expenses for life. Breeders are required to provide details such as food schedules, vaccination and de-worming cards, details of the veterinarian etc. They must have a proper record of all the purchases made and bear the responsibility of checking in the condition of the dog purchased at least once a year.
The western breed market is flooded with unethical and money-minded breeders. If you really care about the welfare of dogs then the ways mentioned below could help cease the immoral operations of illegal puppy mills.
1. Adopt, not buy - If you are looking for companionship and want to live the best version of you, sharing your home with someone who could give you unconditional love and who is longing for a permanent home, a dog in the shelter or an Indie pup (the street variety) could be a great choice. In my personal experience, our Indian street dogs are capable of more love that you could ever imagine. Their reciprocated love will never let you down
2. Be alert - Puppy mills are sad places unless they abide by the laws and we all know the ones that abide by the laws are scanty in number. So, it is very important for yourself to visit the breeding facility from where you are getting the puppy and not just pay a hefty amount to a breeder online or in a pet store. Furthermore, you can make sure he/she is already eight weeks and is ready for a new home. Separating at a very early age leads to aggression and could lead to problems in behaviour and temperament when they grow up. Besides, it will be thoughtful to not let the mother deal with separation anxiety before she is ready to part with her babies.
3. Creating awareness - Many might not have any idea about how disgusting an environment a puppy mill could be. It is very important to educate others about being a responsible pet parent. Either adopt from local shelters or get only from the ethical breeders. Social media can be a great way to raise awareness among your family and friends about the horrors that these female dogs go through in their entire life of imprisonment. People should realize only a healthy mother can have a healthy litter of pups.
4. Act wisely - If you suspect any illegal breeding activity in your area, it will be best for everyone's interest not to confront the owner directly. Instead, talk to your local NGO who works for animals or go to the authorities with evidence if you can collect it unnoticed by the breeding facility.
The question arises here why are we so enticed and obsessed with a western breed; does it make our home look more western or lively? Every day so many Indian pups are born in the streets to be abused, they too deserve a life of dignity and love. The disdain we hold in our hearts for our own Indian dogs is futile because they are a pure form of love. Every dog, no matter what his/her breed, has an inbuilt characteristic of showering unconditional love and faithfulness to those who treat them right. It is on us as dog lovers if we really want to change this obsession or just ignore the pain we inflict in the mothers of the cute-looking pups. Unfortunately, they cannot fight back so we have to fight for their right and dignity.