India’s streets are home to around 35 million dogs, a number that’s grown by 17 percent since 2016.
Since the pandemic began, there has also been an estimated 30 percent increase in pet dog abandonments. Owners are concerned they’ll catch the virus from their pet, despite limited evidence of transmission.
Most of these dogs are native Indian breeds, like the South Asian pye or Rajapalayam hound. While they’re often referred to as “stray” or “street,” many animal advocates prefer calling them “indie” dogs—a kinder term.
While some kind shopkeepers tend to keep a bowl of milk, water or some biscuits on the side for these pups to eat, very few come forward to adopt them and provide a secure home.
Speaking on World Conservation Day 2020, actor and environment champion, Randeep Hooda said, “I am not in favour of pedigree dogs. I’m not saying that I’ll never have one, but what I’m saying is that instead of buying expensive inbred dogs (that are) not really suited for our local environment, you can adopt a puppy from the street. They’ll get a home and you’ll get love for as long as they are with you. There are also kittens that you can adopt and they’re very easy to keep too.”
According to the India International Pet Trade Fair (IIPTF), about 600,000 pets in India are adopted every year, with numbers increasing yearly. However, the numbers are uneven when it comes to the adoption of pedigree dogs as compared to indie dogs.
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He adopted close to nine injured horses from the Mahalaxmi riders’ club, situated in Matheran, Maharashtra, and was shocked to know about the ill-treatment the horses faced there.
One of his mares, Dream Girl, who is one of the nine injured horses he adopted and nursed back to health, went on to win two gold medals and one silver in equestrian tournaments.
(Edited by Ryan Frantz)
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