Decorative fishes and pet animals, a sector which has grown up quietly in the country, is a superb example of a private initiative. Starting about twenty years ago with just two shops, a pet market has not only blossomed at Kataban area in the city, but such shops can be found almost in many cities and towns of the country.
Up to 10 years ago we had to import decorative fishes and pets, but now the imported pets are bred here, be they exotic fish like Golden or Silver Arowna, or German Shepherds, or the fascinating Lovebirds or cuddly rabbits, said Bazlur Rahman Shikder, Secretary of Aqua and Pet Association. Explaining how these animals, birds or fish come to their shops now, he referred to the dogs which give birth to pups after intervals of a few months. “Lovers of pets, for example dogs or exotic cats can be found in almost every area of cities and towns outside the city.
Their owner may choose to keep them or part with some of the pups. We would then go and collect them.”Pups of almost all dog species popular here like Spitz, Boxer, Doberman, Dalmatian, Rottweiler are collected after they give birth, nurtured and sold. Pabna, Jessore, Khulna , Barisal , Mymensingh are some of the districts where pet dogs, birds or fish are bred. Soukhin Bitan of Md Yasin was one of the first shops in the area. “Business was then very slow” but he kept on going.
Pet birds, fish and animals were a passion for me, now they have become my livelihood,” Md Yasin said caressing a pigeon of a species that does not fly. “People of all classes come to us for pets. Its not that everyone knows the basics about their care. We advise them how to feed, nurture or groom them. They also come for purchasing food for their pet fish, bird or animal. We also advise them where to take them if they fall sick.” Pet foods are imported from India while shampoos for grooming of dogs are brought from Thailand . Imported or local leashes are available here, as are cages or aquariums. These are available not only at Kataban shops but also at some specialty shops in other parts of the city.
Prices of pets vary with the demand and supply. A pair of Love Birds may cost Tk 200 while a dog pup may cost Tk 3,000. Bazlur Rahman Shikder urged the government to extend facilities so that this sector can grow. “We can easily meet the demand for pets, specially for aquarium fish in the region if we are given incentives,” he said. Atiur Rahman, whose house is full of birds, fish, cats and dogs, says he purchases both imported as well as locally produced food for the pets.