Chennai: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday, May 21, presenting fresh evidence of cruelty to dogs who are imprisoned and denied exercise and socialisation at the Tamil Nadu Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Department's dog-breeding unit (DBU) at Saidapet, Chennai.
Despite being a government centre, the DBU breeds dogs to sell to the public.
PETA India's investigation report also revealed that the state government provided the Supreme Court with fabricated photographs supposedly showing proper treatment of animals.
This followed a petition challenging the 2015 order of the Madras High Court, which directed the closure of the DBU for not providing dogs with basic care and for not meeting the terms and condition set by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory body that operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and registers breeders.
PETA India's investigator visited the DBU from 12 to 14 March 2018 and documented that none of the adult dogs or puppies were allowed to play, exercise, or socialise at any point in the areas of the facility designated for this purpose.
The photos and video footage taken by PETA India proves that this is in contradiction to what the DBU has stated in its daily activity chart, which was filed through an affidavit in the Supreme Court and claims that dogs are taken for exercise and socialisation for two hours in the morning, from 7:15 am to 9:15 am, and two hours in the afternoon, from 3 pm to 5 pm.
The dog socialisation ground was in a state of utter neglect, and photographs show that the ground's entrance gate and the plant containers located on either side of the entry gate were littered with empty liquor bottles and lids, plastic disposable glasses, snack packets, and accumulated dry leaves, showing that the ground has probably been unused for several months except for unsavoury activities.
In 2017, the Tamil Nadu state government claimed before the Supreme Court that DBU employees personally exercise each dog in a 3,000-square-foot exercise paddock and submitted photographs that PETA India noticed were obviously photo-shopped.
A basic scrutiny of the images of the facility provided by the state government shows inconsistences, such as missing objects – including part of the fence, a pole that supports the fence, and the middle portion of a leash on a dog being walked by a man – and a layer of green grass that was apparently mistakenly added onto a blue-coloured pole.
These all indicating that the images were poorly altered. PETA India's report points out that the state government filed these fabricated photos with a view to mislead the court regarding the actual condition of the DBU.
Such constant confinement of dogs as has been documented at the DBU is an apparent violation of Rule 24 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, and Section 11(g) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
"The Dog Breeding Unit has shown yet again that it either can't or won't provide dogs with basic necessities like exercise and socialisation," says PETA India Senior Legal Associate Swati Sumbly. "This cruel dog prison has falsified evidence before the Supreme Court, and PETA India is calling for it to be shut down immediately."