Dog Fights

Animal and bird fights are banned in India (Afghanistan and Pakistan), but clandestinely held and animals such as dogs are specially bred to fight. In 2012 illegal dog-fights involving betting was an increasing trend in Haryana and Punjab and fast spreading to Delhi. By 2015, they became a popular pastime of Delhi’s rich and powerful who were the only ones granted access to the secret venues since both animal fights and betting were illegal.

In 2011, while making inquiries about greyhound racing in Punjab, Beauty Without Cruelty had discovered the existence of so-called pit bulls at Moga, Surewala and Kotkapura.

Such “dangerous” dogs that ferociously fight each other to death are called Bully Kutta and are similar to the vicious pit bulls which were bred specially for fighting and have been banned in many parts of the world due to their killer instincts and actions. The mastiffs are common in Pakistan (like the “Kohatie Gul Terr”) from where they are smuggled into India via border districts of Haryana and Punjab, particularly Fatehabad and Hisar districts of Haryana. Dogs are also brazenly brought in by travellers on the Lahore-Amritsar bus with the help of requisite certificates. Kept as so-called guard dogs in farm-houses they are bred, sold, trained and made to fight each other.

It has therefore become a status symbol in Punjab to own a ferocious Bully Kutta and train him to not only illegally fight another dog but to hunt. The dogs chase wild animals such as wild boar and hare, attack, and kill them; and since these dogs can easily follow the scent of a wild animal they are taken on illegal hunting trips by their gun-toting owners.

Investigations by Tehelka have revealed that a Bully Kutta’s daily diet consists of 1 kilogram raw mutton, 250 grams ghee mixed with almonds and chicken and 2 litres of milk. The dog is also made to chase and kill a live chicken. In addition, the dog’s training involves being made to swim in ice-cold water.

The dogs always suffer and die. They are either killed by their opponents or by their angry owners – dogs that lose are clubbed with hockey sticks, poisoned with naphthalene, electrocuted or drowned. Those that win suffer tremendously too with gouged eyes, ripped ears, bitten-off tongues, ruptured windpipes, and ghastlier injuries.

Suffering is an integral part of the fights – dogs suffer both physically and emotionally, whereas humans suffer due to the bets they place and lose.

The Police need to quickly crack down on all such dog-fights at Gurgaon, Noida, Bathinda, Fazilka, Fatehabad and other parts of Punjab, before they get uncontrollable.

Following different breeds of dogs being brought illegally into the country, in April 2013 the Government of India changed its policy regarding import: only those persons who had stayed abroad continuously for two years could bring in two pets as baggage. This was expected to curb Bully Kuttas from being brought into the country, but it did not happen. However in 2017 the newspapers reported that sedated dogs, particularly from Eastern Europe and Russia, smuggled in suitcases were being detected by Customs.

In 2015 a lot got revealed on social media like prize money and prestige being the main reasons why people patronised dog fights. (American pit bull terriers cost at least Rs 2 lakh each, and the prize money is any where between Rs 1 to 10 lakh.) A man from Jhajjar (Haryana) posted pictures of his bloodied dog after a dog-fight on Facebook following which there was an outrage created by animal activists. Also, a breeder from Delhi admitted that a part of training dogs involved making them pull SUV tyres for strength; and more shockingly that smaller dogs were used as bait to make them aggressive. Within minutes the animals get severely injured.

In 2016 Bully Kuttas, Pakistani Mastiffs and Indian Alangu Mastiffs continued to be openly sold on the internet marketplace sites such as That they are from cities all over India proves that dog fights are clandestinely being held.

In June 2018 posters publicising dog fights were put up in Moga district’s Nihal Singh Wala town which led the police to register a rare FIR against the organisers. However, BWC is unaware of the outcome and feels there must have been no serious follow-up – the excuse given was that the mobile numbers given on the posters were switched off so the organisers could not be tracked down!

Investigations by animal activists in 2018 revealed that street dogs were being used to train fighter dogs such as American Pit Bull and Staffordshire Terriers brought in from abroad. To make them aggressive killers their tails were chopped off, they were tired with ropes, housed in covered cages, kept hungry and then fed raw meat, given hormone injections and drugs and some were made to run on a treadmill to keep fit. There is no doubt that the Punjab and Haryana Police need to find the source of the videos that circulate on social media and take action against the persons concerned. After all, dog fights and betting (usually heavy betting in lakhs of rupees) are both illegal.

It is high time the government came down heavily on the sadistic people who are responsible for spreading this so-called “sport”. This sport is the forerunner to committing brutality towards a fellow man.

Sure enough, in March 2023 following illegally held dog fights in Gurgaon, the death of a dog, and two persons being removed from the WhatsApp group, a physical fight broke out in which a gun was fired injuring two persons. BWC had written to the ACP (Crime) urging that appropriate action be taken by the Police to immediately stop illegal dog fights.

Years back on 25 April, 2016 the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) issued a notification imposing a ban on the import of dogs except for certain specific purposes, i.e. valid pet dog, dogs for R&D conducting research approved by CPCSEA, and for security of Defence and Police Forces; whereas the import of commercial dogs for breeding or any other commercial activities was not permitted. This Notification was set aside by the Madras High Court on 6 June 2023.

On 12 March 2024 the Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India sent an Advisory to the Chief Secretaries of all States & UTs not to issue any licences or permits for sale and breeding of ferocious dogs. This was as a result of a report by an Expert Committee with members from various stakeholder organisations and experts set up following an order by the Delhi High Court in response to a Writ Petition about ferocious dogs kept as pets that bite humans. The Committee under the chairmanship of the Animal Husbandry Commissioner recommended a ban on the import, breeding and sale of particular breeds of ferocious dogs and existing pets of these breeds would need to be sterilised. The breeds indentified covered mixed and cross breeds of: Pitbull Terrier, Tosa Inu, American Staffordshire Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, American Bulldog, Boerboel, Kangal, Central Asian Shepherd Dog (Ovcharka), Caucacian Shepherd Dog (Ovcharka), South Russian Shepherd Dog (Ovcharka), Tornjak, Sarplaninac, Japanese Tosa and Akita, Mastiffs (Boerbulls), Rottweiler, Terriers, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Wolf Dogs, Canario, Akbash Dog, Moscow Guard Dog, Cane Corso and every dog of the type commonly known as Ban Dog or Bandog (i.e. bully kutta).

BWC hoped that this would herald the beginning of the end of Bully Kutta fights, but there have been immediate setbacks: the Karnataka HC stayed the circular on 19 March 2024 and then quashed the ban on 23 ‘ferocious’ dog breeds on 10 April 2024 citing lack of stakeholder consultation; the Calcutta HC ordered a partial stay; and the Delhi HC sought the Centre’s response.

Page last updated on 11/04/24