Why do so Many Adopt ‘Fancy’ Dog Breeds, Only to Abandon Them?

Let’s get one thing straight: India isn’t home to these breeds, and you’re only adding to atrocities against animals

5 min read
India isn’t home to these breeds and you’re only piling on the atrocities against animals. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)

Fateh may easily be the scariest looking husky dog you have ever seen. No, not because he is as big as a wolf and seems capable of ripping you apart. No, Fateh instead looks like a dead dog walking.

Fateh the Husky when he was brought in. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
Fateh the Husky when he was brought in. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)

Recently abandoned at Friendicoes, an animal shelter in Delhi, Fateh has a bad case of bacterial skin infection, mites and red mange; worst of all, he is highly resistant to antibiotics. The infection is so bad that there are tunnels formed in his body where fluid can go in from one hole and come out from another. Even under excellent medical and foster care, his recovery is set to be a long and painful one.

Two Beagles followed in Fateh’s footsteps soon after. While one-and-a-half-year-old Dennis was found with a contagious mite infection, the second Beagle was completely bald with self-inflicted wounds caused by constant scratching.

Dennis the beagle. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
Dennis the beagle. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)

Pyaare the Boxer entered the shelter next, suffering from neglect, skin infection and the worst case of distemper. At least five St Bernards like Boris and Victor are at the shelter, recovering.

These are true stories that are happening every third day at this animal NGO. The number of abandoned pedigree dogs is increasing exponentially in shelters across the country – especially in the metros where they are easily available.

Pyaare the Boxer suffered from neglect, skin infection and the worst case of distemper. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
Pyaare the Boxer suffered from neglect, skin infection and the worst case of distemper. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)

And while animal cruelty has seen a rise in our cities, the inhuman treatment being meted out to foreign breeds is something else.

A Tragic Myopia

The main reason behind these abandonments is people’s myopia.

People see or hear about a cute or glamorous looking breed and buy it without doing proper homework. Pets are commitments. They are like children who need monitoring and care. Unfortunately, people do not consider these points at all and get one from the pet shop. Without knowledge of the specific breed, they end up neglecting them, consequently leading to its behavioural or health issues. The result is that the pet gets thrown out of the home to save money and effort.
Tandrali Kuli, Friendicoes
Great Dane Bittu with dog seller in Ahmedabad. 
Great Dane Bittu with dog seller in Ahmedabad. 

Foreign breeds like Huskies, St Bernards, Great Danes and smaller ones like Pugs are prone to diseases as well – the Indian weather does not suit them and many pups are born from inbreeding, i.e breeding within the male and female members of a family, making them genetically sick. The breeders in India do not bother to get official licenses and keep animals in the most inhuman conditions, as reported by animal activists during raids. Many are selling these exotic breeds on OLX and feeding a large industry of puppy mills and India has no law to curb the illegal activities.

St Bernard Victor. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
St Bernard Victor. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
There is a ban on import of foreign breed dogs in India since April 2016, so the latest puppies are being bred in India itself. Except a few registered breeders, the process followed by the rest is cruel, with puppies being taken away from their mothers in less than 30 days. As they are weaned at such a premature age, they miss out on essential immunoglobulins from the mothers, making them weak and sickly from birth.
Dr Tina Giri, practising vet, Ahmedabad

Don’t Keep a Foreign Breed if…

Most people keep foreign breeds as a symbol of status without an idea of the required upkeep. Huskies and St Bernards are snow dogs that need to stay in temperatures between 18 and 20 degree Celsius 24*7. St Bernards also drool a lot, making it unhygienic for both the owner and the pet during summers.

St Bernard Boris. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
St Bernard Boris. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)

Secondly, foreign breeds that are big in size should not be kept above the first floor in a building or in a flat that has marble flooring. Marble doesn’t allow the dogs to have a proper grip, thereby causing misshapen feet and hip dyplasia in many.

“Also, living in a high rise means that taking the huge animal for walks twice a day becomes very difficult, especially for a youngster or a woman,” says Dr Ajay Sood, a vet in New Delhi. Sood treats a variety of foreign breeds in the capital and agrees that more than half the clients cannot create the perfect environment for these dogs.

Giving up on the Pets too Soon

The saddest part about these abandonments is that these dogs can be completely cured in most cases. However, the treatments are expensive. Along with medicated baths, antibiotics, topical spray, Fateh’s treatment along with a special hypoallergenic diet costs close to Rs 30,000. For Dennis, the treatment costs Rs 15,000. Shelters like Friendicoes keep putting up requests for donations, foster homes and rehoming of these young dogs on social media day in and out. But the only solution is to not buy these breeds – they are high maintenance and fall sick if not tended to.

Spaniel Curly. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
Spaniel Curly. (Photo Courtesy: Friendicoes)
Adopting Indian breeds or strays will ensure two things – indigenous breeds thrive in this weather and aren’t expensive to keep. More importantly, adopting them will result in lesser man-animal conflicts on India’s streets.
Mahendra Shrimali, Head, People for Animals, Ahmedabad

It is important to get one thing straight – India isn’t home to these breeds and if their physical and emotional care isn’t one’s priority, then buying and abandoning them only adds to the pile of human atrocities on animals.

(Runa Mukherjee Parikh has written on women, culture, social issues, education and animals, with The Times of India, India Today and IBN Live. When not hounding for stories, she can be found petting dogs, watching sitcoms or travelling. A big believer in ‘animals come before humans’, she is currently struggling to make sense of her Bengali-Gujarati lifestyle in Ahmedabad.)

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