Metrolife: Outrage grows over bid to restrict pets

Metrolife: Outrage grows over bid to restrict pets

The city’s pet lovers came together at Cubbon Park to protest against the new BBMP bye-law to limit the number of pet dogs in apartments and individual houses. DH Photo by S K Dinesh

Pet parents are furious: the BBMP has announced a limit on the number of dogs a home can have.

It says only one dog can be reared in a flat while an independent house can have up to three.

Officials are also talking about mandatory licensing of pets with radio collars and embedded chips.

Last week, pet owners launched an online campaign against the new rules, #NotWithoutMyDogs.

Yasmine Claire, teacher at Stonehill International School, lives with her family, 10 dogs and 10 cats in an apartment near Ulsoor.

“I often foster puppies at home and this bye-law is thoughtless. This is not the first time the BBMP has come up with something like this,” she says.

She says the Constitution allows pet owners to look after pets as they wish. “According to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, abandoning animals is not right,” she says.

What the BBMP is asking is for pet parents with more than one dog to keep just one and abandon the others, she says.

Most of Yasmine’s dogs have suffered cruelty, and one of them is blind.

“They are Indian dogs and it is difficult to find parents for them. What happens to all of them now?” she asks.

Madhu Kapani, homemaker who lives in HBR Layout, says she loves her dogs Fudge and Coco as much as she loves her two sons.

“I rescued them from the streets but they are family now. I’m not giving up any of them for any unrealistic law. It’s almost like asking which child I want to give away,” she says.

She is apprehensive about where the additional dogs will be sent.

“I adopted my dogs from the streets and that is because the BBMP’s Animal Birth Control programme is not in place,” she says. Madhu welcomes the radio collar rule, but can’t accept capping of pet numbers.

Semonti Nath, HR professional with a travel company, is a pet parent to two-and-a-half-year-old Smurf and six-year-old Pixel. She lives on Sarjapur Road.

“Pet parents adopt dogs which in itself is good work,” she says.

For pet parents like Semonti, everyday activities are planned around the furry friends.

“We plan our vacations and even lunches keeping our pets in mind. The idea of giving them up is upsetting,” she says.

Ekta Sharma, COO of a retailer brand, lives in an apartment with her pet dog Sasha, a labrador. She often rescues dogs from the street.

“Through the year, you find more than one dog at my house being fostered to better health. This becomes illegal with this bye-law,” she says.

However, she urges pet owners to be more responsible and sensitive to neighbours.

In solidarity

‘Show of Solidarity for the campaign #notwithoutmydogs’ was organised by Knights of Cubbon Bark and Cubbon Park Canines on Sunday. About 600 dog lovers attended it. Some came with their pets. Interesting posters with messages like ‘Beke Beku Nayi Beku’ (‘We want dogs’) were seen.

Actors agree

Two Kannada actors are also campaigning against the restrictions. Sruthi Hariharan retweeted Aindrita Ray’s tweet, describing the BBMP’s rules as “preposterous.” She told Metrolife: “I know of many actor-friends like Aindrita who love dogs. Instead of keeping stray dogs off the streets, a bizarre capping method is definitely not the road ahead.” She can’t understand what the BBMP is objecting to. “Such rules are simply not acceptable. The BBMP should focus on adoption campaigns and providing space for strays.”

Weird list

The list of dogs approved by the BBMP has breeds many dog lovers haven’t even heard of. Dog lovers suspect the list is similar to the one released by Singapore Housing and Development Board. “It is shocking that more common pet dogs like Golden Retriever, Beagle and Indie dogs are not even on the list,” says Ekta Sharma, dog lover.

Right focus

Pet parents say the municipal authorities need to focus on pressing animal-welfare questions.

“Street dogs need birth control and annual vaccinations. Officials should also keep an eye out for unscrupulous backyard breeders,” says animal lover Semonti Nath.

What new rules say

A flat can have just one dog, no more.

An independent house can have up to three dogs.

All dogs must have licenses with radio collars.

When dogs poop on the streets, their owners must clean it up or pay a fine of Rs 100.

“This new bye-law flouts Supreme Court directives and amounts to total contempt of the judiciary.”

Yasmine Claire, Resident of Ulsoor.

“Most pet parents are okay with laws about picking up after the dogs, licensing and vaccinations.”

Semonti Nath, pet parent to two Beagles.