The Indian Army is indubitably India’s most respected institution. But there is something about them that may not go down well even with their most devoted fans.
How they treat their superbly trained army dogs once they grow old and become unfit for duty can be described as inhuman by any standard.
According to a TOI report, an RTI seeking details on the treatment of Army dogs revealed that the Army euthanizes horses and dogs found unfit for active service.
“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.”
Maj Gen (retd) Kharb, who is also the chairman of Animal Welfare Board of India said that dogs are trained for infantry patrol, tracking, explosive detection, guarding bases, and casualty detection in times of disaster.
The Army euthanizes the dogs even if they have a few years of life ahead. The canine comrades are generally Labradors, German shepherds and Belgian shepherds.
In their defence the Army says that since the dogs are highly trained and are familiar with the base location, it would be a security risk if they land up in civilian hands. Another reason forwarded is that NGOs or animal welfare organisations won’t be able to maintain these dogs.
Kharb says that although the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act stipulates that ordinary dogs could be euthanized only in cases where they are suffering from an incurable disease, army dogs are excluded from this cover by a policy decision of the Union government.
Obviously, the animal rights activists are not happy about it. We, too, think that the dogs, who so faithfully serve the country, should not be treated in such an insensate manner. If this is how we treat them for their service to the nation then we should be ashamed of ourselves.