Essentially, this initiative is about equity. Bengaluru showed its fierce loyalty to its pets in the 2017 #NotWithoutMyDog campaign against the BBMP’s daft ideas about pet ownership, forcing it to retract them. This also exposed the abysmal lack of awareness about pets and their ownership in the city and the ad hoc rules, fines and fees imposed by many apartment associations.
The fact remains that India’s Constitution completely supports pet ownership and decries cruelty to animals in any form. Having said that, it is daunting to find that a number of apartment associations have banned pets illegally and asked owners to give them up, resulting in many being abandoned. They have also tried to evict those with pets from their buildings. Although the law on this is absolutely clear, building bylaws are made by apartment association committees, flexing their imaginary muscles.
The shocking stories are far too many to relate, but it is suffice to say that many hearts have been broken and pets abandoned on roads thanks to the extremely rigid stance of apartment associations.
But on the other hand,some owners are dismissive and uncivic about mainstreaming their pets as members of apartment complexes. Whether it is about leashing them in public areas or picking up their poop, they seem to be conscious only about their rights and not their responsibilities.
Although the CJ Memorial Trust with partners came up with the Responsible Pet Parent Pledge it lacked teeth. So an attempt was made to work out a set of broad guidelines, which would not only prevent the apartment associations from breaking the law, but also ensure that pet owners became aware of their responsibilities. The idea was to create an environment in which laws were adhered to and eventually a community where pets were welcomed.
A petition calledbit.ly/PetBan to address violations of the law where pets were concerned, was signed by over a 1,000 people. It was clear that collaborative guidelines were required to ensure associations followed the law and the legitimate opinions and concerns of both pet parents and those against them were taken into account.
The Bangalore Apartment Federation (BAF) has taken a pioneering initiative with multiple experts across the spectrum ( including us at CJ Memorial Trust and CPC) to proactively come up with these sensible, relevant guidelines to protect all stakeholders. This will provide the benchmark for the rest of the country, with Bengaluru leading the way....