Posted on December 10, 2015: In a welcome move, the Ministry of Defence of the government of India reportedly released a notice last week calling for an immediate end to the old practise of euthanising dogs and horses after they are no longer ‘fit for fruitful service’. Earlier in June 2015, Gingertail had reported about the ‘retirement policy’ for service dogs in the Indian Army:
In a horrific RTI investigation, by the Times News Network, into the fate of retired Army dogs, it was found that, “army horses and dogs are evaluated for their fitness with respect to the performance of duties. The animals which are considered unfit for one month active service are disposed of by humane euthanasia.”
The justification given by the Army is that since these dogs are aware of sensitive information regarding the defence forces such as the location of bases, they cannot be safely rehabilitated through animal welfare organisations. So, like used tissue paper, they are simply disposed.
Read the full story here - Retirement for working dogs: Army versus RPF
Earlier this year, the central government had indicated its willingness to review this policy and look at providing welfare and support to these hard working animals. And now, The Tribune reports that the Defence Ministry has instructed that old dogs and horses be moved to the Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre & College in Meerut and Remount Training School in Hempur, respectively, after their service.
They shall be held there for a year, after which the Army will reportedly review their status and look to ‘rehabilitate them for life’.
There still isn’t much word on the fate of RPF service dogs after their service years are up, but this is one step in the right direction. Let’s keep an eye on the MOD to ensure that this rule is implemented unanimously.