Pet shops continue to mushroom in Puducherry, flouting rules

Dogs in a cramped-cage at a pet shop in Puducherry

Dogs in a cramped-cage at a pet shop in Puducherry | Photo Credit: S.S. KUMAR

More than three years after the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, was notified by the Centre making it mandatory for pet shops to be registered with the respective State Animal Welfare Board (SAWB), not even a single pet shop in Puducherry has registered so far, according to officials. 

The Centre had notified rules setting standards for animal housing and care across the country. The rule mandates that no person can operate a pet shop or carry on with the business of trade in pets without a certificate of registration from the board. 

Under the rules, pet shop owners have to register with the board within 60 days. The rules mandate that the local authority (municipalities) cannot issue licence for pet shops without a certificate of registration from the board.

An official said that a number of pet shops had mushroomed in Puducherry over the last few years and most of them had been functioning illegally. 

“As many as 102 pet shops are functioning in Puducherry. All the shops have trade licences alone but are selling animals including pedigree dogs and birds without registering with the Animal Husbandry Department. The owners are of the opinion that a trade licence alone is sufficient to run their business,” he said. 

The official added that people intending to set up pet shops must approach the SAWB for registration following which a veterinarian would inspect the shop. A licence is issued to them only if the conditions notified by the Centre are fulfilled. However, the shops seem to be having a free run all these years. 

Sources in the Animal Husbandry Department said that the Union Territory of Puducherry State Animal Welfare Board had met only once during its tenure since it was constituted last year.

“The board’s monitoring committee had directed pet shop owners to apply for registration and get the licence. However, the process including the inspection of shops by the committee has been delayed due to the pandemic. We will soon begin the process of inspection and ensure strict compliance with regulations,” he said. 

Normally, the State Animal Welfare Board, with a three-year tenure, would advise the government on measures to prevent unnecessary pain or suffering to animals generally and particularly when they are transported from one place to another or when they are used as performing animals or when kept in confinement. 

Buying pets from unlicensed shops also has its own set of problems. A number of cases of dogs with genetic abnormalities including blindness are reported at Government Veterinary Hospitals, say, veterinarians. 

“Pet shops do not have proper ventilation. Apart from cramping dogs and birds in cages, they are also subjected to inhuman treatment. Pet shop owners in several instances advise on the course of treatment to be adopted for an ailing pet. A lot of such misinformation is causing more harm. The requirement of keeping pets at home has increased. As a result, the number of pet shops has also increased,” said a veterinarian.

The government should ensure effective implementation of rules of the Animal Welfare Board of India. Constant monitoring of animal welfare activities would have a great impact on the functioning of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, slaughterhouses, and monitoring of pet shops, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 17, 2022 6:59:53 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/pet-shops-continue-to-mushroom-in-puducherry-flouting-rules/article65058231.ece