Posted on April 29, 2016: In a move welcomed by animal rescue organisations, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued a notification on Monday banning the import of exotic, foreign dog breeds for commercial purposes including breeding. Only pet dogs, with valid documentation and permits, can be brought into the country, according to the decree from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Additionally, import of dogs is allowed for the purpose of research but with a recommendation by the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals.
The notification came as a result of a petition by the Humane Society of India and People for Animals to the DGFT to control the rising number of foreign breed dogs being abandoned on the streets. These dogs are not suited to the weather and conditions in India and end up requiring specialised care. Some pet owners decide against stepping up their pet parenting game and simply abandon the dogs instead.
“We commend the Director General of Foreign Trade for this historic ban that will prevent the suffering of thousands of dogs. Our shelters are inundated with cases of abandoned imported breed dogs who are usually left out because the owners do not have a fair understanding of the breed’s requirements. We now hope that the government complements this decision by enacting the pet shop and breeder regulations as recommended by the law commission of India, so that people only get their pets from shelters and responsible breeders,” Gauri Maulekhi, HSI/India representative and PFA Trustee said in a press release.
In 2015, the Law Commission submitted a report titled ‘Need to Regulate Pet Shops and Dog Breeding and Aquarium Fish Breeding’ urging the government to enact laws to regulate pet shops and dog breeders. The report was drafted on the back of guidelines from the Animal Welfare Board of India.
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The report coupled with the latest notification could mean better laws to protect the animals caught unwittingly in an entirely unregulated trade. Hopefully, the days of Siberian Huskies and St Bernards sweating it out and suffering the hot tropical Indian weather conditions are numbered.
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