The year 2017 saw pet owners rise in defiance of the BBMP when it ruled that apartments could have only one dog each wit their #NotWithoutMyDog campaign. While that battle was won, animal lovers are now up against apartment associations, which are against having pets in their buildings. Joining the fight is the Bangalore Apartments' Federation (BAF), which has come out with guidelines striving to bridge the gap between pet lovers and those who rather keep a distance from them. Aksheev Thakur and Aknisree Karthik report
Pet owners may have won a battle against the BBMP when it insisted that apartment dwellers can have no more than one dog and those in independent houses can have no more than three, but they have another on their hands now as many apartment associations have laid down rules against having any pet dogs in their buildings .
Up in arms once again, the pet owners luckily have the Bangalore Apartments' Federation (BAF) to fall back on t his time. A body representing the interests of hundreds of apartment complexes and lakhs of apartment residents across the city, the BAF has recently released a note outlining guidelines for pet ownership in apartments.
Prepared with inputs from animal rights activists and animal lovers and those who have had problems with a few pet owners, the guidelines are meant to address the lack of information on the subject and protect both apartment associations and pet owners from potential violations of the law and strive for peaceful co-existence of pet owners and other apartment residents, according to the BAF.
Says Mr. Nagaraja Rao, a representative of the governing council of the federation, “A few apartments have byelaws which ban pet ownership, which is illegal. This note seeks to create awareness among apartment associations so that they do not violate the law.”
Adds Mr. Srikanth Narasimhan, general secretary of BAF, “There have also been instances of owners being forced to abandon their pets, which again is illegal. This can lead to criminal prosecution of those who abandon their pets and also of those who force them to do this.”
Ms. Sandhya Bhat, another governing council representative of BAF, emphasises that owners too need to take responsibility and make sure their pet dogs are leashed at all times in common areas and clean up their poop in public places.
Strongly supporting the guidelines, Ms. Priya Chetty Rajagopal, an animal rights evangelist, says they are an important to ensure that apartment associations, pet owners and other residents understand their rights and obligations.
“These guidelines can help create a conducive environment for pet owners and others in apartments,” she adds.
BBMP, where are vet clinics for our pets?
While Bengalureans are fond of pets, whether they be dogs or cats, the city does not have as many clinics as it needs to treat them and keep them healthy. Although the BBMP takes care of stray dogs through its Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme and makes sure animals are vaccinated against rabies as mandated under the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act, 1976 , it does not run any veterinary clinics for pets.
The city does have a few veterinary hospitals and clinics managed and run by the state veterinary department, but they are not enough in number to cater to the demand, protest animal lovers, who believe Bengaluru needs mobile clinics to treat pets.
An animal lover and a resident of Banasawadi, Narendra Kumar, wonders why the BBMP, which spend crores on animal pounds, vaccination and birth control programmes, does not have any clinics for pets. “Setting up mobile pet clinics will help pets and stray dogs in the community,” he pleads.
Another resident of Banasawadi too backs the idea of mobile clinics, arguing they could help in vaccination of pets. “This could help scores of busy people vaccinate their pets and protect many more from rabies,” he stresses.
Present the idea to a senior BBMP official and he says although the veterinary department had given an undertaking to the high court to start mobile veterinary clinics following the shifting of its hospitals to rural areas, it had not established them as yet.
“The BBMP’s priority is to ensure that the people of Bengaluru are not bitten by stray dogs and to vaccinate the animals at birth,” he explains....