Kathmandu, October 20, 2014– On the occasion of Kukur Tihar 2014, Animal Nepal invites visitors to worship rescued dogs at its Chobar Animal Sanctuary and make pet toys from recycled materials. During this year’s dog worship Animal Nepal expresses its concern about unregulated dog breeding and the lack of responsible pet ownership.
The event on Wednesday October 22 will start with at 11 am with visitors offering their blessings to rescued dogs and donkeys. At 12.30 am participants will be invited to make pet toys from recycled materials.
According to Animal Nepal, the growing culture of buying foreign breed dogs is increasingly resulting in animal abuse. Unregulated dog breeding has become a big business, with the welfare standards of the dogs severely compromised. Owning German Shepherds, Japanese Spitzes, Labradors and Pugs is often considered a status symbol and owners tend to be ill informed about dog management and welfare.
According to a WSPA 2012 survey, over 22,000 dogs roam the streets of Kathmandu and Lalitpur. These mixed breeds make perfect, healthy pets. Every time people buy a dog from a breeder, a homeless Nepali dog loses its chance of finding a good home.
According the Animal Nepal, in the absence of responsible breeders and pet owners, the number of discarded foreign breeds is increasing rapidly. “We receive a growing number of abandoned shepherds, pugs and labradors at our shelter. These dogs are the saddest cases. They quickly deteriorate on the street because they have no survival skills, and they feel depressed with a sense of abandonment,” says Uttam Kafle, Director at Animal Nepal.
Dogs are normally treated as an asset and are abandoned when they get old, fall sick or lose their good looks. A short, desperate life on the street becomes their ultimate destination, unless they are rescued and taken to a shelter.
The increased mobility of Nepalese people adds to dog abuse. Dogs tend to get abandoned when people move abroad. Relatives who live oversees gift their families an expensive breed, which then gets tied up 24 hours a day or otherwise abused as its owners do not know how to look after it. According to the research conducted by Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN), more than 50% of the pets are gifted from friends and relatives. The report further explains, pets’ lives in Nepal are cut short due to general neglect and a lack of awareness on health care. 64% of pets are kept on a chain. Of these 36% is kept on a very short chain that hardly enables the dog to move.
Animal Nepal in the past months rescued two dogs that were tied up on roofs all day and suffered from severe malnourishment.
By picking up the issue Animal Nepal wants to promote responsible breeding and pet ownership. Kafle: “We want the government to regulate the breeders and pass the Animal Welfare Act so action can be taken against abusers.” According to Animal Nepal, people should be well informed before buying a breed: “Having a dog can be compared to having a child. Maintaining a foreign breed can get expensive. Unless one is financially secure and is well informed about dog management and welfare, one should be accept or buy a dog.”
Animal Nepal promotes mixed breed adoptions through a special website with the motto ‘Be proud to be Nepali, Adopt a Nepali dog’. According to the organisation, Nepal’s mixed breeds make handsome, loyal, intelligent and healthy pets.