Hyderabad: Most of the beagles rescued from the labs find it difficult to find homes in Hyderabad as they are comparatively older and less playful then the puppies.
Alokparna Sengupta from Humane Society of India said dogs are used for regulatory and biomedical tests. The regulatory tests are for drugs, pesticides, and cosmetic chemicals. For this purpose, Beagles are used.
“Apart from permission from CPCSEA the labs also need permission from other departments like for testing pesticides they need permission from the Ministry of Agriculture. Once they get permission, the dogs are usually kept for three days,” she said.
In February 2017, Blue Cross Society for the first time in Hyderabad rescued around 63 dogs used in pharmaceutical labs for testing. Out of which they were able to find homes for 44, while the remaining 14 died, said CFO NSK Kumari of BCH.
After 2017, BCH couldn’t continue rescuing such dogs. With the result, the awareness about such dogs dropped in Hyderabad.
“Dogs are majorly used in these labs to test because after rats they are the animals closely related to human beings. Usually, the companies give all the vaccines which are given to pet dogs and conduct tests. The labs usually ensure that the dogs thus let out after the testing period are healthy. The dogs might have health issues that can be treated after rehabilitation. Only healthy dogs are given out for adoption,” Dr. Praveen Kumar, a veterinarian, said.
India became the first country in South Asia to outlaw repeated testing of drugs on animals in 2013. Later in 2015 the Committee for Control and Supervision of Experimentation on Animals (CPCSEA) issued certain guidelines according to which dogs can be only used for three years or earlier.
After that, the labs had to either take care of the dogs or rehabilitate them by sending them to Animal Welfare Homes.
In an opinion piece for the Firstpost in 2017, Member of Lok Sabha, Maneka Gandhi said beagles are a variety of dogs mostly used by these laboratories because of their passive nature and small size.
Such beagles are now being rescued by Vasanthi Vadi, President of People for Animals, Hyderabad. She stated that in May last year, a lab in Hyderabad let out eight such dogs and she shifted them to a rehabilitation center in Bangalore. “Labs when need to let out dogs, usually contact Animal Welfare organizations like us and we then rehabilitate them,” she added.
Vasanthi noted that only one out of 20 people come forward to adopt beagles. "People usually don’t want an adult dog as they are not chubby or playful like a puppy, Moreover, these dogs have grown up in a different kind of atmosphere so it is a bit difficult for them to attach. So people with big hearts and those who love dogs adopt them.”
Beagles rescued by Vasanhti are sent to ‘Freagles of India’, an NGO in Bangalore. “We have seen that in Hyderabad the preference for old dogs is less. Out of 500 dogs that we rescued since 2016, we have found homes for dogs as old as 11 years in cities like Gujarat, Pune and Bangalore,” said Chintana Gopinath, founder trustee of the NGO.
Panneeru Teja, an animal activist and a pet shop owner based in Hyderabad said usually when people think of adopting dogs they usually go for puppies. “We find it very difficult to find owners for adult dogs. People sometimes prefer middle-aged dogs if it is Labrador or German Shepard,” he said.
Chinatana stated that awareness is increasing slowly and people are coming forward to adopt these dogs. The organization has found homes for 492 such dogs and probably after lockdown the remaining will also be sent to their homes.