The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has set the ball rolling to set up the city's first public crematorium for dogs, where provisions will be made to store their ashes for 15 days after being cremated with proper rituals, officials said on Sunday.
The crematorium, spread over 700 sqm, will come up in Dwarka, and the project has been welcomed by canine lovers.
"Recently, the SDMC gave the final official approval to the project. And, we will soon be floating tenders. It will be a public-private-partnership (PPP) project," a senior SDMC official said.
He said the human-animal bond is very special and for dog or cat lovers, their pets are like family members.
"And, so the grief is same as losing a real family member, even when a pet dies. We want such animals to also have dignified last rites, as we do for humans. So, we have asked for provisions to be made to have a priest at the crematorium who will perform the rituals in a traditional way for a dead pet," the official told PTI.
The veterinary department officer added that many pet-owners wish to immerse ashes in rivers late, so that "sentiment will also be kept in mind".
"At the new crematorium, there will be a provision to store ashes for 15 days from the date of cremation, so that people can collect it at their convenience. Dogs also deserve dignity, as we expect for humans," he said.
The crematorium will be built by the SDMC, but people from across the city will be able to avail of it. It will be for cremating both dogs and cats.
The standing committee of the civic body in October had fixed the cost of cremation for pet and stray dogs at this first-of-its-kind facility in the city.
"So, the rate will be Rs 2,000 for a dog weighing up to 30 kg biomass and Rs 3,000 for over 30 kg category," the official said.
Stray dogs will, however, be cremated free of cost at the facility.
"Pet-owners living in areas outside the territorial jurisdiction of the SDMC in Delhi will be able to avail the facility for their pets, with the fixed charges. However, someone bringing a dead stray dog or cat from areas falling under the North Corporation or the East Corporation will have to pay Rs 500," the official said.
"Two units will be there, one of capacity 150 kg to handle heavy dog biomass and another one of 100 kg capacity, primarily for stray dogs," the official said.
He said that as planned, it will be a PPP model, therefore, vehicles bearing the SDMC logo will be operated by a company to collect the carcass.
"At present, people do last rites of dogs at a small private crematorium for pets located in south Delhi. But, this will be the first public facility for all Delhiites. In case a dog carcass needs to be picked, the DEMS (Department of Environment Management Services) does that job. Once, the PPP mode comes up, the selected private company will do that job," he said.
South Delhi is home to a large number of pets and the move has been welcomed by people, especially dog lovers, many of whom had to earlier run from pillar to post to get their pet's cremation done.
"The breeds mostly kept as pets here include Pomeranian, Labrador, German Shepherd, Alsatian and Rottweiler. We hope this new crematorium would give solace to pet-owners and peace to the souls of those dogs," the official said.