Sri Lanka police have apologised for holding a group wedding ceremony for sniffer dogs after the country's culture minister condemned the event and demanded an investigation.
Nine pairs of police dogs dressed in shawls, hats and socks were placed on a decorated platform like those used in traditional weddings in the ceremony in the central town of Kandy.
Their marriages were also registered by an official in the presence of a crowd of veterinary surgeons, medical doctors, top police officers and the public.
Video footage on local television showed the married dog couples were later being driven away in a decorated police car for their "honeymoons."
The ceremony received wide publicity, and also strong criticism from the cultural officials.
Culture and Arts Minister TB Ekananayake said the ceremony undermined traditional wedding rituals and should be strongly condemned. He called for an investigation into the incident. A decorated platform is used for traditional nuptials by the Sri Lanka's majority Sinhalese Buddhists.
Police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardena apologised for any damage to the country's cultural heritage, saying the program was aimed at breeding the sniffer dogs.
"This programme is aimed at breeding dogs accustomed to local weather and food, thereby saving money," Siriwardena said, adding that in 2011 the police department spent more than £300,000 importing such dogs from the Netherlands.
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