Our dogs aren’t your business, BBMP

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s new dog-licensing rules are insensitive, bizarre and deserve to be trashed. There are a few provisions that are welcome. The new rules mandate the licensing of all dogs. Henceforth, dogs will have to wear a radio-collar with an embedded chip that contains information such as the age and breed of the dog, vaccination details and the owner’s address. Additionally, the rules make it mandatory for dog owners to clean up their dog’s poop in public spaces. These rules are a step in the right direction as they will make dog-owners take responsibility for their pets. 

However, other provisions in the proposed ‘Pet Dog licensing Byelaws 2018’ are simply ridiculous. The rules spell out the number of pet dogs that can be kept in a household. A person living in an apartment is allowed to have just one dog, while those in independent houses can keep three dogs. On what basis did the BBMP arrive at these figures? The rules also restrict dog breeds that people can keep at home. Some 64 breeds figure on the BBMP’s ‘approved list.’ Commonly found breeds like spaniels, golden retrievers and German shepherds have failed to win the BBMP’s approval. Importantly, desi breeds or ‘Indies’ or ‘strays’ as they are better known have not made the cut. One would have thought that the BBMP, in all its wisdom, would have ‘approved’ strays so that more of them would be adopted and thus taken off the streets. This means that dog-owners in apartments, who have more than one dog, will have to choose the one they want to keep. The ‘extra’ dog and banned breeds will thus face eviction.

Understandably, dog-owners are furious. For many dog-owners, their pets are family members, nothing less. Consequently, how does one decide which dog to keep and which to evict? The humane aspects apart, there are serious problems with the BBMP directive. What gives this body the right to decide how many dogs a person should keep and what breeds these should be? Isn’t this a matter of personal choice? Some BBMP officials have justified the rules claiming that keeping many dogs in an apartment annoys other residents. What will the BBMP do next? Put in place rules mandating how many children a couple can have, since noisy or ill-mannered children get on the nerves of other residents? There are countless other issues that merit the BBMP’s urgent attention – uncleared waste, open sewers and manholes, poor quality roads, etc. It should focus on those problems instead of meddling in issues that are not its business.

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Our dogs aren’t your business, BBMP

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