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Is the craze to own exotic dog breeds violating animal rights?

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462960-dog1The craze to own exotic dog breeds, the more expensive, the better, is growing by the day with owners willing to pay several lakhs for that prized pedigree pet. It’s about status, of course, but does it also constitute animal rights violation? Gargi Gupta reports

Caucasian Ovcharkas are large dogs found mostly, as the name indicates, in the Caucasus, a mountain range that occupies the narrow strip of land between the Black and Caspian Seas. They are large dogs, with dark shaggy coats giving them added bulk and protecting them from the intense cold of the highlands and valleys where they are generally used to guard sheep.

In his third-floor, 2,000sq ft apartment in 22052016-md-main-14west Delhi, Brutus, a year-old Ovcharka pup, couldn’t be further away from his natural habitat. His heavy paws, made for trudging on snow and rough terrain, have to contend with the smooth granite of the plush apartment; it’s cold alright thanks to the central air-conditioning but there’s no way that Brutus can go outside in the searing heat. For company, there’s his master Manmohan Singh Jolly, his wife and son and his two minders. The natural aggression of this ancient dog breed means very few people will venture near Brutus. “Every morning Brutus will bark when the minder, who looks after him, comes to work every day and yet thinks the minder is an intruder,” laughs Jolly.

For the Jollys, Brutus is a prized possession – they paid Rs5 lakh for him. “My father saw him at the shop and fell in love with him. We’ve always had large dogs. We had a Great Dane earlier and a Dalmatian. There’s only one other Ovcharka we know of in Delhi,” says son Prabhjyot.

The craze to own exotic breeds, the more expensive, the better, is growing by the day, says Harshdeep Singh Tegha, who runs Tegha Kennels in Delhi. Tegha Kennels offers and has sold dog breeds from all across the world, the most expensive being the Tosa Inu or Japanese Mastiff (Rs35 lakh), Scottish Deerhound (Rs17 lakh) and Black Russian Terrier (Rs18 lakh). All three are dogs from cold climates, dogs bred for specific tasks – the Japanese Mastiff used for guarding sheep, the Scottish Deerhound for hunting and the Black Russian Terrier for military work – and not quite geared to be the house-trained domestic pet for whom, frequently, the most energetic and exciting thing in the day is a romp around the park.

And then there is Bangalore-based breeder Sathish S who set a record when he paid a crore to buy a Korean Dosa Mastiff. “I have been wanting these breeds for the past 20 years,” says Sathish, who has housed them in air-conditioned kennels to help them acclimatise to the hot Indian climate. Sathish who also runs a pet shop in Bangalore called Cadabom’s Kennels, came under a lot of criticism some years ago for a Neapolitan Mastiff he bred; he nicknamed it Ghost and advertised it proudly as “the most prolific and heavily (sic.) wrinkled dog in the world”.

A memorandum from the animal husbandry department, dated December 2015, flags the dangers of this unchecked influx of exotic dog breeds. “In the recent past, there has been an alarming upsurge in the import of exotic and rare breed dogs from different climatic zones across the globe. Indiscriminate and sudden increase in import of dogs has led to creation of huge market for imported dogs in the country, while there are no guidelines/regulation regarding neutering, registration, breeding and sale of pet or commercial dogs…as these dogs are imported from various climatic conditions, adaptation of these animals to Indian conditions is not smooth.”

Dog lovers like Anant Ambani, industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s son, who have the resources to create home-like conditions for their pets – he owns an Alaskan Malamute, a large freight dog from the Arctic regions, and created a chilled section in his home. But not all are as lucky.

For many owners, the fascination with a prize pedigree pet wears off soon enough and they are abandoned at animal shelters. “Sometimes we get around five calls a day reporting an abandoned animal. Most of them are injured, bitten or ill – being so-called pedigreed they don’t have the skills to survive on the street. So you’ll find stray labradors running about in the market, or St Bernards along highways or great danes tied to railway tracks.

In the summers, the animal is usually tied to the gate, or left outside in the verandah, and when he barks, owners complain,” says Geeta Seshamani of Frendicoes-SECA, which has a home that takes in these abandoned animals and puts them up for adoption.

In the past three years, adds Seshamani, more people are coming to adopt or foster strays, old, handicapped or ill dogs. “We have been posting images of abandoned animals on our Facebook page and Twitter handles, and in many cases, we’ve been able to place them in good, caring homes. This is an optimistic development,” she says.

According to NG Jayasimha, managing director of NGO Humane Society International, a global animal rights advocacy group, what India needs is a law to regulate the pet trade. “The pet and pet supplies trade, which some estimate to be around Rs800 crore a year, is not regulated in India. There are no guidelines for breeding or sale of dogs. Dogs are often bred in unscientific ways leading to health problems like hip aplasia for labradors, breathing problems for pugs and so on. No pet shop gives a receipt for sale and different prices are quoted for the same breed,” he says.

Late last month, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade imposed a ban on the import of dogs for breeding – a move that will hurt breeders like Sathish S – but this might not be enough to check malpractices, says Seshamani. “Last year, the state government had formulated draft rules for dog breeding and selling and to regulate pet shops, which mandates registration of all sale of pets, installing a micro-chip with all identity and health details. But it is still to notify it,” she adds.

“Most people don’t make a realistic evaluation before they decide which dog breed to get for their homes,” says Lakshya Sawhney, who runs the pet-grooming service called Flying Fur in Delhi.

“Large breeds are an absolute misfit in apartments. Aggressive breeds can be dangerous if you have young children or too many strangers visiting. Don’t get hyperactive dogs if you have no time to exercise them regularly. In many cases, it’s the kids who insist and the parents buy them a dog, not realising how much care a dog requires. And then the trouble starts,” Sawhney adds.

Here’s hoping that aspiring dog owners will heed this advice.

Our story about the pet dogs in india was broadcast in France2 Channel

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LogoFTV_chaineVolDogs of race: The rich Indians are seeking the Kennel

“Chiens de race : les riches Indiens cherchent la niche”

The Indians are discovering a passion for breeds: owning one has become a status symbol . But the country is not necessarily suitable for all breeds and some of these good doggies suffering under the local climate.

” Les Indiens se découvrent une passion pour les chiens de race : en posséder un est devenu un symbole de réussite sociale. Mais le pays n’est pas forcément adapté à toutes les races et certains de ces braves toutous souffrent sous le climat local.”

See in the jaws of the dog she is tormented innocent

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Tegha kennel in IBN7 News Channel cgf

08:37 AM IST Dec 30, 2014  Mkrba area of ​​Ahmedabad in a society of a 10-year-old is the example of courage. Sister of his half of the draw on 10 years of Kanchi saved a dog. Tegha kennel Director Harshdeep singh  told about How to Handle a Dog Attack !

Watch Video

  • Warding Off an Attack
  • Defending and Protecting Yourself
  • Handling the Aftermath
  • Taking Precautions Against Attacks

Especially for joggers and runners, there is a danger of being completely blindsided, so that a dog attack is happening before you can even have a chance to try to avoid it. If you have enough time, the first line of defense is to let the dog attack something on you that isn’t you — for example, if you’re wearing a sweater, get your arm out of a sleeve and get that sleeve in the dog’s face. If the dog takes the bait, let it pull the sweater off, then slowly back out of the area. To the dog, it has just gotten hold of a piece of you, and this may distract it long enough for you to get to safety.

It’s probably good practice to always have something on you that you can use in this manner, whether it’s a sweatshirt tied loosely around your waist, a stick, or even a stuffed dog toy. If you can pull it off quickly enough, you can also use one of your shoes for this maneuver.

In all cases, remember to protect your face, chest, and throat. Also keep your hands in fists to protect your fingers. If you must be bitten, the safest place for it to happen is the shin or forearm; a dog bite to the thigh can cause fatal bleeding.

If you are bitten, resist the natural urge to try to pull away. This will just make the injury worse through tearing your flesh. Oddly enough, if the attack escalates to this point, then you actually want the dog to latch on. Why? The dog only has one mouth, but you have two hands. If you can manage it at this point, grab its back legs and lift them off the ground.

 

Pets on board

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Chetna Dua, Hindustan Times, New Delhi      Updated: Aug 30, 2011 00:40 IST

Thinking of going out of town in the next festive and holiday season but worried about leaving your much loved pooch behind? Then don’t fret as there are many pet boarding centres in the city to help you.

These centres also have facilities such as swimming pools, grooming centres and provide trainers. Here’s a look at some such places. However, do visit the place on your own, before you leave your pet behind.

Tegha Kennel
The center has its main boarding and breeding center in Gurgaon but has tied up with families across the city to provide a comfortable boarding center for your pet. You can call the common number and be guided to the nearest family with whom you can leave your dog.
Price: Rs 400 per day
When: 24 X 7
Where: 43 centres (Delhi-NCR)
Main center: Tegha Kennel, Tikali Gaon, Gurgaon
Pick and Drop: Yes (free if boarding for a week; Rs 7 per kilometer)
Tel: 9250606377

Now, pet dog owners send them to dog school for socialising

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(Shallu Jindal with her Shih…)

Vijaya Rathore

If happiness is a warm puppy, then this is one big high net-worth happy family. Out here, a birthday surprise could be a dense-coat Siberian husky, a Valentine’s Day gift an apple-head Chihuahua, or as the granddaughter of a top realty tycoon willed it recently, a pair of Shiba Inu dogs imported from Japan — the price tag, a cool Rs 21 lakh — which was her present to her boyfriend, himself from another top Delhi-based business family. She got the idea from the Richard Gerestarrer Hachiko — a drama based on the true story of a college professor’s bond with an abandoned dog he decides to take home.

Yet, there’s a whole bunch of dyedin-the-wool dog-lovers who don’t need to take inspiration from the silver screen. Like Louise Fernandes Khurshid, wife of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, whose house in Lutyens’ Delhi is home to a variety of animals, including turkeys, bantams, rabbits, Persian cats, cows and, of course, dogs.

“When we are happy we buy a pet, when we are sad we buy a pet,” says Louise, trying to control the army of canines keen to catch her attention. The couple has over 30 pedigree dogs, including a mountain dog Gaddi and other breeds such as Apso, Pekingese, Chihuahua and Dachshund at their Delhi residence, and more at their home in Farrukhabad — Khurshid’s constituency.

“I mostly pick up my pets from shops in Delhi or wherever I travel or adopt the abandoned ones. Many of them are also gifted by friends,” she adds. Politician and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu’s Newfoundland named Bozo breathed his last about a week ago, but he lost no time in ordering another dog of the same breed from Thailand, which will be delivered to him shortly. A couple of days ago, he bought a Havanese Puppy imported from Finland, the latest addition to the family of eight exotic male dogs, including mountain dog Caucasian Ovcharka and a Shih Tzu, at his homes in Amritsar, Patiala and Delhi.

“I have loved dogs since childhood and my whole family loves them, especially my wife,” says Sidhu. “We get regular orders from top businessmen, politicians and celebrities from across India for importing dogs. These are exotic breeds, many of which can cost a few lakh rupees,” says Harsh Tegha, director, Tegha Kennel in Delhi. This week, his boys will deliver a Rs 2-lakh Japanese Akita to a senior executive of the tech firm IBM.

“We have a regular customer in Mumbai, the grandson of Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who is crazy about dogs,” says Tegha, adding, “The family has numerous breeds, including Chow Chow, Saint Bernard, Neapolitan Mastiff and French Mastiff.” According to Tegha, any professional breeders, though limited in number, are breeding dogs in India, which are sold for half the price of an imported dog.

“But knowledgeable people prefer imported ones,” says Tegha. Mumbai-based Gaurav Assomull, director, Intergen Energy, has a Chinese Chow Chow that he imported from Thailand a year ago. Gaurav, who spent over Rs 1 lakh to import the dog, feels that since it has an aggressive temperament, it is important to train him well.

“I not only get a personal trainer twice a week for Rio but also send him to a dog school nearby where he socialises with other pets and does fun things such as swimming and playing with the rest,” he adds. In Lutyens’ Delhi, Kuchipudi dancer Shallu Jindal, wife of businessman and Union minister Naveen Jindal, recently brought home a black pug.

“I love my pets and spend a lot of time with them. I personally supervise their meals,” says Jindal, who also has a Beagle and a Shih Tzu. One of the pets travels with her within India. Textile firm JCT Mills’ MD Sameer Thapar owns eight pedigree dogs including a Siberian husky, a Chow Chow and a Rottweiler and Bullmastiff mix breed, and plans to get a Tibetan Mastiff soon. Mount Shivalik Breweries Managing Director Sanjeev Bali is the proud owner of 12 dogs, including German Shepherds, Mastiffs, Rottweilers and Saint Bernards.

“I prefer to spend as much time with my dogs as possible and keep them in large farmhouses in Delhi and Jaipur so they get large spaces,” says Bali, adding, “All of them have been gifted to me and I do the same to my friends.” For Raghavpat Singhania, special executive of JK Cement, his Beagles are like stress-busters after a long day at work. DLF’s Rajiv Singh has three stray dogs at his home in Delhi.

The family has also set up a trust that operates CGS Hospital, a veterinary facility, in Gurgaon. Leela Hotels’ Amruda Nair and family rescued a Neo Mastiff about six months ago and also adopted a Yorkie. Nair works closely with Thane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and helps the hospital find people interested in adopting rescued stray animals.

Former Tata group chairman Ratan Tata has two German Shepherds at home, but he has ensured that even stray dogs have free access to Tata Group’s headquarters, the Bombay House, located at Homi Mody Street in Mumbai. According to reports, post-retirement, the ardent dog-lover plans to set up a veterinary hospital of international standards in Mumbai.

Dear Indian dog owners, Saint Bernards and Huskies do not belong in Delhi or Mumbai

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Wealthy, urban Indians have a new obsession—and they’re spending thousands of rupees on bringing the wrong pet home.

With rising disposable income in Asia’s third largest economy, the number of pet dogs in Indian homes has jumped from 7 million in 2009 to over 12 million in 2014, according to research firm Euromonitor.

And more and more of these include foreign breeds such as Saint Bernards and Siberian Huskies.

But trapped inside small apartments in hot, humid Indian cities, increasing numbers of these dogs are ending up with serious health problems—and unable to cope with their expensive needs, owners sometimes simply abandon them.

Why the fascination?

Two words: Beauty and vanity.

“People find Huskies good-looking…they have blue eyes,” said Mohan Kadam, a pet store owner in New Delhi, pulling up a picture of a 15-day-old Husky puppy up for sale on his iPhone.

While more commonplace breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Labradors and Beagles remain popular, demand for exotic dogs—including Saint Bernards and Siberian Huskies—has steadily grown over the last 10 years, pet store owners and brokers told Quartz.

In fact, more people are keen on buying Huskies today even though they can be twice as expensive as Saint Bernards. 

“Siberian Huskies are so common now that they are not even an exotic dog breed anymore,” said K.K. Trivedi, secretary of Oudh Kennel Club, adding that they regularly feature in dog shows.

Other expensive, foreign breeds such as the Kangal, Alaskan Malamuteand Tibetan Mastiff are also up for grabs. Some are even available on online classified websites such as Quickr and OLX.in.

A Husky puppy, according to estimates from brokers and pet store owners, sells between Rs40,000 ($647) to Rs60,000 ($970) while Saint Bernards can be bought for Rs25,000 ($400). The price can go higher depending on the quality.

Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, can be bought for Rs11,000 ($178).

“It’s about showing off,” said Harshdeep Singh, a pet store owner and dog breeder in New Delhi. “Specially north Indians, they like big dogs like Saint Bernards.”

Singh claims to sell around 20 Huskies and 30 Saint Bernards every month, a number that has steadily increased in the last six years. His clientele includes many well-heeled executive and politicians.

“People are just crazy about these breeds without knowing how to keep them,” said Anil Kadha, who runs Kapspets, a pet store in Mumbai.

Nonetheless, Indian dog owners are spending lavishly now, especially on food and healthcare.

Pampering not enough

Hitesha Deshpande, who runs a brand consultancy firm with her husband in Gurgaon, bought a Saint Bernard a few years ago. “We saw him at a breeder’s, out in the heat, and we thought we can give him a better life,” she told Quartz.

But taking care of Zuzu hasn’t been easy.

Hitesha Deshpande and Zuzu.(Hitesha Deshpande)

Deshpande takes her dog, who turned six in February, for a walk three times every day. When summers are at its peak, he is made to run on the treadmill inside the house for about half-hour. “He is a big dog, he needs regular exercise,” she explained.

Zuzu’s brown and white hair is brushed once every month, he goes for a shower twice a month—sometimes at home, or at a dog spa—and even travels with the family to the hills every year. And like any other Saint Bernard, he has a large appetite, eating 20 kilograms of dog food every month.

The family ends up spending Rs5,000 ($80)-7,000 ($112) every month on Zuzu, about double the amount they spend on Filu, a Cocker Spaniel.

But money doesn’t solve everything.

India’s harsh summer takes its toll on these dogs and they develop a lot of health problems, said Pradeep Rana, a veterinary doctor in New Delhi, who treats Zuzu for his stomach ailments.

Today, Rana treats around 30 Saint Bernards and five Huskies every month. Six years ago, only about 15 Saint Bernards would come to his clinic, while Huskies were largely non-existent.

Typically, these dogs suffer from chronic skin and breathing problems, said Rana. Also, their appetite goes down in summers, which eventually leads to nutritional deficiency and sub-optimal growth.

That’s because these breeds aren’t built for India’s climate.

Huskies, with their thick coats, are from the Siberian peninsula where temperature can be as low as -60 degree celsius. And the Swiss Saint Bernards, famously employed to locate travelers trapped in snow stormshave a low tolerance for heat.

“The Huskies I have seen, people buy them because they have seen them in movies and they look beautiful but they are not as healthy,” Rana said.

And since many of them suffer from health problems, their owners eventually decide to give up on them.

“People buy them but many of them are unhappy,” said Singh, the pet store owner in Delhi. “They return their puppies to us.”