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Illegal dog fights come to Delhi: Canines are smuggled from Pakistan are forced to brawl to the death

New Delhi: If you have been outraged by images of dogs being killed for Yulin festival in China, you need to look closer to home. 

On Delhi’s outskirts, at select farmhouses in Gurgaon, and in select venues in Noida, people gather regularly to watch “dog fights”.

These fights have moved from rural pockets of Punjab and Haryana to urban spaces. Pedigree dogs go at each other like gladiators, sometimes to the death. It’s the latest pastime of Delhi's suburban rich.

Since dog fights and betting are both illegal, these bouts are secretly organised. It’s a wealthy network that nobody speaks about outside the circuit. 

Despite a few arrests, the popularity of the sport hasn’t decreased. 

Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, said: “I have been aware of this issue for three years now. The dogs are starved, beaten and brutally treated. The losing ones are either killed or tied with chains to drown in canals. Usually these fights take place in farm houses and the irony is that police officials are informed in advance.” 

The grisly dog fighting tradition dates back to the 18th century, and has now made its way into suburban India. It’s an international racket where dogs are smuggled from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Australia all the way into India. Lakhs are spent on training Pittbulls, bull dogs, Indian mastiffs and other pedigree dogs. 

The animals are kept in cages, without food for days on end, maddening them and priming them for carnage. Their ears and tails are chopped off so that they don’t become easy targets in a fight. This rigorous training ensures that when they enter the ring, they are at their most ferocious.

The dogs are unleashed on each other and bets worth lakh of rupees are placed on the winner. The stakes shoot up as blood flows. 

“Our team members saw few of these dog fights. We have collected proof in the form of videos and pictures which have now gone viral on social networking sites like Facebook etc. These fights take place often in Wazirabad, one of the most affluent villages of Haryana. My team came to know of a fight being organised in Jhajjar District and immediately reported the matter to the local police. The police arrested one Surinder Dagar. But that is just one instance. This is a serious issue as it involves the international mafia,” said Juhi Bhattacharya, an animal rights activist. 

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