As many as seven dogs died of injuries they suffered during fights with boars during a competition in Layyah on Sunday.
One of these, named Shangrila, a bull terrier, was declared the winner of the competition by a panel of judges. Shangrila had defeated a pair of boars to win the competition but later died of the injuries inflicted by the boars. The fight had continued for over half an hour.
Shangrila’s breeder Muhammad Saifuddin was awarded Rs500,000 prize money which he burnt during the ceremony in, what he said was a gesture to honour the dead dog.
He said his love for the dog was above the prize money.
Cash prizes were also awarded to the owners of other dogs and the boars.
The fights, organised at Chak 145-TDA by Muhammad Sharif, included fights between pairs of dogs and a boar each. The final, however, involved only one dog fighting two boars.
Sharif said he had been arranging the fights every year in June for many years. He claimed that he had been bribing policemen of the area to be allowed to hold these competitions.
Sharif’s brother Muhammad Hanif said invitations were sent for the fight to a select audience. “The breeders and their families come to witness these fight regularly. No persons allowed to the fights are uninvited,” he said.
Hanif said the boars that took part in the event were bred by him and his brother at their farm house and the dogs were brought from Paharpur sub district of Dera Ismaeel Khan.
Saddar station house officer Rab Nawaz Khetran rejected the bribery allegations as baseless. He said the police would raid the farm house in the morning and seize the boars. He said teams had already been constituted for the purpose. “There is no way we will allow such cruelty towards animals. I would have prevented the fight had I found out about it earlier,” he said. He said he had learnt about the fight from media reports.
Reza Khan, a veterinary surgeon who has been associated with animal welfare projects for over two decades, said pitting dogs against wild boars was extremely condemnable. He said animal fights were now prohibited in most countries. “A fight may be condoned if it is between comparable contestants. There is no way one can allow a fight between a dog and a wild boar,” he said. He said arranging the fights in extreme summer heat was also condemnable as dogs lacked the ability to sweat to stabilise their body temperature.
Several residents of Layyah also criticised the activity. Rana Khalid, a resident of the area, condemned the cruelty towards the animals and said that the fights also affected public order. “Most of the audience came with armed guards. The event affects the mobility of people living in the vicinity,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.