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Are dog fighting clubs keen to adopt Brownie?

LUCKNOW: Will Brownie be pushed into the brutal canine fighting sport? Brownie’s owner Amit Tripathi, who lost his mother to her on July 12 after her pet to her Pitbull apparently mauled her to death, appealed to not give his 3-year-old pet to those engaged in the illegal canine-fighting sport. He said he was getting frequent calls from dog fighting clubs, expressing their willingness to adopt Brownie for the weekend sport quite common in West Uttar Pradesh and National Capital Region (NCR).

“I am flooded with calls from unfamiliar numbers, mostly from West UP, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh. All are ready to pay a hefty amount for Brownie. Some said they wanted to adopt the dog since it had become famous,” said Amit, a gym trainer and a dog lover.

He said such calls were more frequent during the initial days of the incident. “It was weird. You can’t think of money, deals or things of similar kind especially when you just lost your mother and your pet has been taken away forcibly,” he said.

The Nagar Nigam which seized Brownie three days after it apparently mauled Tripathi’s mother to death, is getting similar calls. Nagar Nigam officials said they were flooded with applications, calls and e-mails for Brownie’s adoption. “So far, we have received 20 applications regarding Brownie’s adoption. There have been calls and emails too in which people expressed their willingness to adopt Brownie,” said Dr Arvind Rao, director animal welfare, Lucknow Municipal Corporation.

Rao said Brownie was under their custody that was initiated to check if the dog was rabid or had some behavioral issues. “We are also trying to figure out things that trigger him the most. However, now we are satisfied with the overall experience with the dog that is now following the instructions of the trainer and is eating meals properly. It seems that the dog is ready for adoption. On adoption front, the decision is yet to be taken,” added Rao.

But he said, “I wonder why people are so crazy for the dog that has just killed its owner.”

Tripathi and other animal lovers, however, raised a question mark over the authenticity of the adoption requests which they said were possibly from those engaged into the bloody sport of dog fighting. “Youtube and social media is flooded with the videos of illegal dog fights all around Delhi and NCR region. It is also common in Punjab, Haryana and in some parts of UP,” said Tripathi.

Kamna Pandey, an animal right activist said the loathsome game of dog fight was said to have originated in Pakistan, which later entered India through the bordering state Punjab, followed by Haryana, Delhi and NCR region and had now come to some parts of UP. “In the game, the fights between the dogs are fixed by the people for entertainment and gambling. The two dogs are expected to fight till death,” she added. The dogs such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Siberian Huskies, Doberman Pinschers and Boxers are widely used for the purpose because they are more likely to get ferocious and aggressive.

Unlike other pet dogs, these fighter dogs are raised differently. “They are raised to kill. The two dogs are made to fight each other and are expected to fight till death regardless of their injuries. And to train them, they use dogs of Indian breeds. These dogs are thrown inside the cage of these trained dogs to make them practice fights,” she further added.

She said the owners also gave them raw meat and tied them all the time to make their more ferocious and violent. She said that the venue for this sport was organized minutes before the match, hence it was difficult for the law enforcers to track the illegal sport.

Recently, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India too had written to minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairy, Purshottam Rupala, calling for an urgent amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017 .

PETA India is seeking change to prohibit the keeping and breeding of foreign dogs bred for fighting and aggression, such as Pitbulls, dogs bred for illegal racing contests and brachycephalic dog breeds.

Dr Manilal Valliyate, veterinarian and CEO of PETA India, said in a recent release: “Dogs are suffering for cruel human exploits such as criminal dogfighting and illegal racing and because many people treat them like toys rather than living, feeling beings. A prohibition on all breeds used for unlawful fighting and racing and those with breathing difficulties would protect these dogs from being born only to face cruelty and suffering.”

“Pitbull-type dogs are commonly bred to be used in illegal fighting or kept on heavy chains as attack dogs, resulting in a lifetime of suffering,” the PETA release further stated.

In the backdrop of the ongoing debate about Brownie’s adoption, the Nagar Nigam made it clear that it would be ensured that the dog was not used for the commercial purpose. “Chances are less that Brownie is handed over to its old owner. We would hand over the dog to someone else, but with due permission from its existing owner to respect the emotions attached to Brownie. The final say would be of Amit,” said a Nagar Nigam official.

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