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With apartment complexes becoming the norm and more and more activists and residents actively engaging in taking care of their pets and stray dogs, it becomes important for people to understand their duties, rights and responsibilities, for the welfare of their pets and their neighbours.
Residents often find letters taped to the apartment’s notice boards that delegate (extremely weird) laws related to pet dog owners, residents, pets, street dogs, and end up submitting to it mostly because they’re unaware of the by-laws or guidelines already in place.
Guidelines for the ones who take care of street dogs
Now there are many who take care of the ownerless, stray dogs selflessly – they often feed them leftovers or prepare food for them, offer them warm dog clothes in winters and silently take care of them.
Even if the Indian Constitution advises peaceful coexistence in between all creatures and lists it as one of our Fundamental Duties (Article 51(g)) to show compassion to all living creatures, things are not as simple as it looks!
To let you know what by-laws are in place, we have rounded some guidelines passed by the Animal Welfare Board of India.
1. Those who take care of street dogs are also advised to participate in their sterilisation and assist animal welfare organisations in taking good care of their health.
2. Care-givers are advised not to feed street dogs near residences which do not belong to them, places immediately adjacent to areas in which children play, areas in which people take walks or in places that are generally crowded.
3. Care-givers cannot be forced to control the defecation habits of strays but are advised to participate in it.
4. They are also advised to keep a record of sterilisation of the dogs and share the information with residents.
Guidelines for pet dog owners living in society apartments
Pet owners often find themselves in conflict with other residents in a society when it comes to their pets. To clarify, here are some guidelines for pet owners and other residents of the society:
1. Pet owners rightly can consider their pets as family members but they have to ensure their pets don’t cause inconvenience to others.
2. No Resident Welfare Association has the right to ban residents from keeping pets in their apartments, not even by getting a majority vote in the society with the help of other tenants or residents. Doing so is a violation of the law.
3. No pets can be banned from lifts. No ban or special charges can be imposed on pet owners for using lifts with their pets.
4. Leashing the dog is advisable (but not compulsory) when the dog is taken out for walks. It will make the people around feel safe. Leashing also ensures the safety of the pet from being run over by vehicles.
5. Even if Residents’ Welfare Association cannot impose fines on any pet owner who do not clean their pet’s excreta, they can request pet owners to clean up after their dogs defecate for society’s cleanliness.
The duly filled in application form has to be sent to the Chennai office of the Board.
The address of the Chennai office of the Board is:
Animal Welfare Board of India
13/1, Third Seaward Road,
Chennai- 600 041