Thiruvananthapuram: Apartments not pet-friendly

Restrictions force dog lovers to forego the warmth they cherished with their pet animals.

Thiruvananthapuram : “I am a dog lover and had a Labrador long back. Even now, I want to have one, but we are staying in a flat where pets are not allowed. My nine-year-old son wants to play with dogs. Can anyone in this group allow us to spend some time with your dog so that my son can play with a pet?” asks R.L. Anil Kumar, a psychologist who works in Thiruvananthapuram family court.

This is not an isolated incident as the situation in the majority of the apartments in the city and other centres is similar.

Mr Kumar still cherishes the warmth and love he had with his old Labrador, Pluto. He used to recall his association with Pluto with his only son, Juan.

The proud father says ever since he educated Juan on showing love and compassion even towards pets, he came out of his shell.

But there was no way he and his wife, Julie Yohannan, a software engineer in a leading IT company in Technopark, could not get him a pet dog as the rented apartment they are living at Akkulam has got a pet ban.

“My job is transferable, and in three months, I will be moving to Attingal. Despite having an individual house at Poojappura, we have been forced to live in an apartment. But Juan has been pleading for a pet dog, and we could not meet it which led me to post my query in ‘Where in Trivandrum’ group on Facebook,” he told this newspaper.

And yes, he received more than a dozen replies from the group members extending an invitation to Juan to play with dogs ranging from Lhasa Apso, Labrador, Pomeranian, Daschund, Doberman, Pug and lots of other breeds.

Juan is all excited to meet his new friends and will be kick-starting his visits to paw friends from coming week.

Hitesh, 18, an engineering student and his sisters Nikitha and Namitha, who are twins, awaiting their Class X ICSE results, have been pestering their parents, Smitha Kurup and S. Balram for a pet for so long now.

But they are aware that it is never going to materialise as the by-law approved by the apartment owners in Vintage View at Pandits Colony here has also come up with a pet ban.

Smitha says allowing pets in apartments cause anxiety to other families as not all of them will be pet lovers.

She feels that unlike independent homes, even if apartments are properly ventilated, the smell of the pets will not be liked by other apartment owners.

“Some people will be allergic to the pet's fur. The older generation may not like the sound of dog barks, and people will raise their eyebrows if they see them in the lift”, said Smitha, a homemaker.

Her husband, Balram, CEO of TIMED, the Technology Business Incubator for medical technology promoted by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology is the treasurer of the apartment association where they are living.

He said when new tenants come to view the apartment, they enquire whether pets are allowed.

“Unfortunately, we cannot give them the consent. The main problem is that other residents in the apartment will not agree to such a move. With less of open space, pets are banned in almost all apartments,” he told DC.

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