Guidelines for the protection of dogs owned by pet-owners and care-givers
General guidelines meant for Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and Apartment Owner Associations (AOAs) with respect to the pet-dogs and stray-dogs.
In my last blog, I talked about the important guidelines that the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) have laid down for the protection of dogs owned by pet-owners and care-givers. This blog emphasizes and talks about general guidelines meant for Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and Apartment Owner Associations (AOAs) with respect to the pet-dogs and stray-dogs.
Guidelines with respect to pet dogs and pet-owning residents:
a) Banning pets:
- Even by consensus or majority, RWAs and AOAs cannot introduce any ban on keeping of pet dogs. They cannot cite ‘barking’ as a reason to put any ban or restriction on dogs.
- RWAs and AOAs cannot frame bye-laws and object pet-owners to keep pets as companions if they are not violating any municipal or other laws.
- Amending bye-laws or regulations to place any such ban on dogs is completely illegal and does not have the sanction of law.
b) Use of lifts by pets:
- RWAs and AOAs cannot disallow pets from the use of lifts, and no charges can be imposed by them either.
c) Use of parks by pets:
- Seeking to ban pets from gardens or parks, is short-sighted. Firstly, we do not have any right over the garden or park. Secondly, pets that are not exercised may exhibit aggression and fail in contributing to the benefits for residents. It is, therefore, advised to arrive by consensus at timings acceptable, when pets can be walked without inconvenience to other residents.
d) Use of leashes/ muzzles by pet-owners, defecation by pets in community premises, the imposition of fines and other similar measures:
- Pet owners are advised to keep their pets on a leash in all common places. However, RWAs and AOAs cannot insist on the use of muzzles.
- In the absence of any central or state laws requiring cleaning of pet excreta by pet-owners, RWAs and AOAs cannot impose any rule, regulation, or bye-law, or impose special charges or fines on pet-owners. They can, however, request them to do so. AWBI also recommends and advises to all pet-owners to accept reasonable and lawful requests from the RWAs and AOAs to participate in solutions aimed at peaceful community living.
- Pet owners are advised to ‘scoop the poop’, or together with RWAs, AOAs, and local residents, experiment with the creation of pet defecation points within the community premises; or arrive at other key solutions through the consensus. RWAs and AOAs cannot, however, impose fines and special charges of any kind on pet-owners because there is no mandate in law for the same.
- Intimidation is an offense under the law. Any RWA or AOA found in intimidating a pet-owner into ‘giving up’ or ‘abandoning’ a pet will actually have abetted the violation of the law and may well be aggravating the nuisance of ownerless animals on the street and therefore getting involved in the human-animal conflict and lead to accidents, injuries, and deaths.
2) Guidelines with respect to pet dogs and pet-owning residents:
f) As per Indian law, the stray dogs cannot be beaten or driven away or dumped elsewhere or killed. They can only be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001, vaccinated, and then returned into the same locality/ territory.
g) Dogs being territorial in nature, tend to fight off other dogs, and keep them away from entering their territories; and in this manner, the dog population within each locale/ territory stabilizes.
h) There is no law that prohibits the feeding of street animals. Citizens who do so are in fact performing duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India – of showing compassion to all living creatures. Courts have upheld the street dog feeding since it reduces human-animal conflict, suspicion and facilitates animal birth control (by making dog catching easier).
i) Any kind of cruelty on dogs, under Section 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code, is an offense and punishable with imprisonment and fine.
j) Any attempt to interfere with or harass people who choose to look after and feed community dogs is an offense of criminal intimidation.
k) Any aggression or hostility that the dogs may be subjected to, may render them aggressive, and hostile to humans. They may then resort to snapping and biting in the self-defense. If the same happens, human aggressors shall be the only ones to blame.
I hope you find these guidelines useful and help us by promoting it among your friends and social circle. Dogs can be many things. They are there to cheer you up when you feel blue, they shower unconditional love and make you want to be a better person. But these unsung heroes are not always lucky enough to get a loving master. They are abandoned many a time and are in need of love and support they deserve. According to an anonymous writer, “The purity of a person’s heart can be quickly measured by how they regard animals.”
Support our #Betterwithdogs campaign to be a hero for them and help them by getting vaccinated in your area.