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Originally published Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 6:14 PM

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Sri Lanka minister says dog wedding barking up the wrong tree

Sri Lankan police apologized for a wedding last week, in which nine pairs of police sniffer dogs dressed in shawls, hats and socks were placed on a decorated platform like those used in traditional Buddhist weddings.

The Associated Press

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan police have started an inquiry into a group wedding for police dogs trained to detect explosives, after Sri Lanka’s minister of culture condemned the event and demanded an investigation, a spokesman said Saturday.

The police have apologized for the wedding last week in which nine pairs of police sniffer dogs dressed in shawls, hats and socks were placed on a decorated platform like those used in traditional Buddhist weddings.

Police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena said Saturday that police Chief N.K. Ilangakoon had ordered the inquiry at the request of Culture and Arts Minister T.B. Ekananayake, who said the wedding undermined traditional wedding rituals and should be strongly condemned. The inquiry has started, Siriwardena said, without providing details.

Police have said the wedding was a humorous way to encourage the breeding of sniffer dogs, which are expensive to import.

The dog marriages were registered by an official in the presence of a crowd of veterinary surgeons, doctors, top police officers and the public at a ceremony Monday in the central town of Kandy. Local television showed the dogs being driven away in a decorated police jeep for their “honeymoons.”

The ceremony received wide publicity and strong criticism from cultural officials. Police later apologized for any damage to the country’s cultural heritage, saying the goal was to save money by breeding dogs accustomed to local weather and food.

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