Only those pet shops and dog breeding centres that have been registered with the Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board will be allowed to resume operations after the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

An advisory to this effect was issued by the Board on Tuesday.

“The pet shop owners and dog breeders are permitted to operate their establishments only after registering [their businesses] with the Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board,” Director of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services A. Gnanasekaran said in a communication to all District Collectors and the Commissioner of the Greater Chennai Corporation.

Speaking to The Hindu, Secretary of the Animal Husbandry Department K. Gopal said the advisory was issued to ensure that the rules were followed.

‘Rules flouted’

“There have been instances where the rules have been flouted,” he said. Mr. Gopal added that the decision would be implemented after issuing a public notification, and the communication to the District Collectors was only meant to get the ball rolling. “No deadline has been fixed in this regard,” he clarified.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop Registration) Rules, 2018, govern pet shops and dog breeders in the country.

The Animal Welfare Board of India too has issued a circular in this regard “considering the fact that the birds and animals are not maintained in ideal conditions, making the animals and birds suffer unnecessary pain and cruelty”. “However, feeding and other [activities for the] management of birds and animals in the pet shops and dog breeding establishments may be allowed to continue as usual. Until the lockdown restrictions are lifted completely in all the districts, the existing scenario may continue. This is because of differing containment measures in various districts and States and the unusual situation everywhere,” the communication to the Collectors said. Dog breeders, pet shop owners and all personnel, online platforms and canine and kennel clubs involved directly or indirectly in the sale and marketing of pet animals and birds are to be sensitised regarding the forthcoming registration process for pet shops and dog breeding and marketing units as per the relevant rules.

“Strict instructions must be given to local and urban bodies to identify all pet shops and dog breeding centres. The list may be submitted [after being] duly signed by officials concerned in the local and urban bodies of the districts,” the communication said.

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