The dogs who serve in the Indian Army don’t have a great life once their stint in the armed forces comes to an end. These fiercely faithful creatures, some even awarded with medals of bravery, meet with a fate that simply isn’t fit for any animal, let alone one that has served his country.
Retired army personnel are treated with respect and admiration. The governments offer them special privileges and concessions. However, when a dog that has served in the Indian Army is retired, he isn’t offered a place in a retirement shelter or put up for adoption. The canines, who have given the best years of their lives to serve the country, are terminated.
As soon as a dog is declared unfit for active duty, he or she is “processed” like any army surplus and scrapped. In other words, any army dog, at the end of his service life, is euthanized, reported the Times of India.
A Right To Information (RTI) query revealed the inhuman techniques the army employs to rid itself of non-performing canines in its ranks. RTI is essentially a provision in the Indian constitution that allows ordinary citizens to put up queries about the government machinery and facts that aren’t openly disclosed on public forums. This particular RTI sought details about the method of disposal of animals, including dogs, in the Army. The reply that would shock any animal lover was as follows.
“Army horses and dogs are evaluated for their fitness with respect to the performance of duties. The animals which are considered unfit for one month active service are disposed of by humane euthanasia.”
A retired army official, who wished to remain anonymous, concurred that the Indian Army puts its dogs to sleep if they are unable to keep up with the rigors of the duty, even if they have a few years of life ahead of them.
“It is a normal practice to euthanize dogs when they are found to be unfit to perform the assigned duty.”
Upon realizing what lies in store for the dogs, animal rights activists have voiced their dissent. Blue Cross of India general manager Dawn Williams was appalled.
“Army can’t play god. The retired dogs just need food and shelter. Out of the huge funds it gets every year, the Army could easily rehabilitate its retired dogs. While serving the nation, dogs are indispensable, and as soon as they become old or unfit for service, the army washes its hand off them. This is deplorable.”
When asked why the army prefers to kill the dogs, the retired army official offered two reasons. He said, “Since they are familiar with the base location, it is not ideal that they end up in civilian hands.” Though this may sound funny, dogs have been known to undertake journeys of great distances to return to their owners.
The second reason he mentioned was NGOs and animal welfare organizations wouldn’t be able to maintain these dogs with the kind of facilities the Indian Army provided them.
Is the perceived inability to accord decent facilities to the army dogs reason enough to kill them after their service life?
[Image Credit: Channi Anand/AP, DefenceTalk, NaxalRevolution]