NEW DELHI: Just let your dog's tail be. Cutting it could land you behind bars, as the mutilation of pets for cosmetic reasons has been made an offence.
An advisory sent out by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to veterinary councils , colleges, kennel clubs and other institutions likely to carry out such procedures states that practices like docking of tails and cropping of ears will now be punishable with a fine, or imprisonment, or both.
The AWBI acted on a Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations petition.
Traditionally, Doberman, Boxer, Great Dane and Cocker Spaniel pups have been subjected to tail docking, but veterinarians say there is no reason for this practice to continue.
"Earlier, it was believed the tail would be a hindrance when the dogs went hunting, but now docking is done for purely cosmetic purposes. Many owners do not even know why they do this," said Dr Kunal Dev Sharma, veterinarian surgeon at Max Vets Dog and Cat Hospital.
"It all started with Kennel Club of India publishing an article in its magazine, Indian Kennel Gazette, that promoted tail-docking and earcropping practices. Our inhouse research showed these do not have a therapeutic value and were solely for cosmetic purposes," said Khushboo Gupta, media coordinator of FIAPO. Kennel Club of India said it would respond to the charge after a couple of days. The AWBI advisory states: "The practice of non-therapeutic tail docking and ear cropping is seen in the light of mutilation, which amounts to cruelty to animals as per Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, and is, therefore , a punishable offence." Section 11 of the Act makes violations punishable with a fine of up to Rs 100.