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Latest Commentary: Dog show gets conditional nod from Madras HC

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CHENNAI: Holding back its final say on tail-docking and ear-cropping of dogs made to participate and perform in dog shows, Madras high court on Thursday permitted a three-day dog show in Chennai saying it could not disallow the event at the last minute.
Justice V Ramasubramanian, while restraining the Animal Welfare Board of India from interfering with the three-event happening at YMCA Grounds in Nandanam, made it clear that animals brought for the exhibition should not be made to perform any acrobatics and should not be subjected to any cruelty for the purpose of satisfying the audience.
He passed the interim orders on a writ petition filed by the Madras Canine Club, which rushed to court apprehending interference/obstruction from the AWBI. It said the AWBI might insist on prior permission for the event and might say it would be covered by rules concerning 'performing animals.'While additional government pleader P Sanjay Gandhi took notice on behalf of the government, AWBI counsel Jayesh B Dolia said dogs exhibited in such shows were "actually subjected to cruelty with a view to make them appear differently." Justice Ramasubramanian said Dolia had made available a book which talked about amputation of tails or tail-docking done on dogs. Dolia also alleged that cosmetic surgeries are performed on dogs at their infancy.
Club's counsel R Srinivas, however, said the object of the event was to protecting, preserving and promoting various canine breeds. He said such shows are exempted from the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. He said apart from private individuals, departments of police, narcotics and railway protection force too are scheduled to participate in the event.
Justice Ramasubramanian pointed out that the March 1991 ban on performing animals was altered by the Centre later thereby excluding dogs from the prohibitory notification. Such exemption of dogs from performing animals was upheld by the Supreme Court as well, he said, adding: "It appears that the conduct of a mere dog show, where the animals will not be made to perform any act displaying any of their skills, will not be made to perform any displaying any of their skills, is not harmful."
Pointing out that several dogs and judges for the show are coming from abroad, disallowing the event will not be in public interest nor in the interest of the animals themselves. He said larger questions such as permitting such shows and preventing tail-docking and ear-cropping could be decided later.
Date: 17 September 2014
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