Pet owner and single? Life isn’t easy

House owners and apartment associations make outrageous rules to deny pet lovers their Constitutional rights

Bengaluru is largely seen as pet-friendly, but single pet parents face unusual challenges. Many young, unmarried people in Bengaluru keep pets. Some foster them when their pet owner-friends are travelling.

Entrepreneur Ankit B and Cocker Spaniel Caramel were asked to leave as the owner wasn’t comfortable with the idea of a pet in the house. 


When Ankit takes Caramel for walks in Indiranagar, 
he cleans up after her.

“Caramel has been with me for a year. I lived in an independent building so I could take Caramel for a walk on the streets. Some neighbours would complain about her pooping and peeing even if the place was cleaned up afterwards,” he says.  Landlords have problems with single tenants, and in their view, singles having pets is a double negative, Ankit says.

And it’s not just single women who find it hard; men do too. Prateekshankar Dixit, lead designer, says, “They think all men are dirty and not responsible enough. I wanted my own place because I don’t like living with dirty roommates.” 

He has been taking care of Juno for two years. She is paralysed from waist below, and so needs extra care. “Because of her condition, she doesn’t always know when she will have an accident. Unfortunately, the owner would pay a visit without warning, right after Juno has peed inside. He would get angry. We eventually had to look for another house,” he says. 


Prateekshankar Dixit takes care of his paralysed pet Juno.
A previous house owner was not too helpful, he says.

When he started looking again, agents advised him not to disclose he had a pet; if owners aren’t living in Karnataka, they visit less frequently.

“I didn’t want to lie and get caught,” he says.  Live-in couples with pets have their own problems. Shagun Ohri, digital marketing strategist, has been living with her partner Utkarsh and dog Snowy for almost a year.

When she found a job near Cubbon Park, she wanted a house close by. She tried everything— brokers, Facebook groups and rental apps. 

“We found a house but the rental agreement we got from the owner was appalling. First of all, he wanted us to get married. The agreement said I should address myself as ‘Mrs Shagun’, and the owner would himself find us a maid and tell us how much to pay. We realised all this was absurd and said no,” she expresses. 


Shagun Ohri with Snowy. Apartment dwellers should
know it is perfectly legal to have pets, she says. 

Most pet parents don’t know their rights, she says.

“It is legal to have pets in your house but apartment associations create problems. It is important for pet parents to know what they are entitled to,” she says. 

When designer Sonia and her partner leave town, they have their flatmates to take care of their pet Maya. “Thankfully, I live in a community that is extremely pet-friendly. We even have an area dedicated to pets where we can take them for a walk,” she says.


Sonia and Kunwarbir Singh with Maya.
Their stay with flatmates always forthcoming with help.

It wasn’t easy to train Maya. “She has destroyed a lot of things in the house, including the flooring. But she is well-trained now and can be alone when we go out for work,” shares Sonia. Not all neighbours have a problem with pets, she says. “In our apartment, we’ve seen many cases of parents bringing their children to the dog park because they can’t have one of their own. They also want to help the children get over the fear of dogs,” she explains.

Pet parents face harassment

Animal welfare worker Mandy Vasudevan and her dogs Bloo and Blacky had to move out because of a hostile apartment association in Whitefield.

“We were asked not to walk dogs on the grass. They wanted us to a place them two blocks away, filled with snakes. They started to harass and abuse us when we complained,” Mandy says.

She went to the police, who registered a case. “Nothing happened, and when things got worse for us, I moved out,” she says. She encourages pet parents to read up about their rights on the Animal Welfare Board of India website.

“The apartment association is wrong because the Constitution says you can have a pet,” she says.

Redressal

Pet owners can approach access the Animal Welfare Board of India’s circular for help if they are denied their rights. The document contains the rights of a pet owner.

They also join Facebook groups like ‘Barking Lot’ and ‘Cubbon Park Canine’.

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