Not without their dogs

Not without their dogs

Sanjana Madappa with her dogs.

All is not well for the pet parents. The new pet-licensing bylaw issued by BBMP -- wherein apartment dwellers can only have one dog while those living in independent houses, three -- have left them in despair. The aggrieved parents had unleashed a social media campaign with the hashtag #NotWithoutMyDog. Following this, the BBMP has decided to review its order.  

Sanjana Madappa of Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), echoes the sentiments of pet parents when she says, "The bylaw is completely biased although parts of it like licensing, keeping the dog on a leash and microchipping is good."

"We live in a society which has three kinds of people -- dog lovers, those who are neutral and non-dog lovers. There are those who may say we are completely biased towards dog lovers but what we want is a peaceful co-existence of all sections of society. This particular bye-law is favouring breeders and resident welfare associations. It is pitted against pet lovers who have rescued and adopted dogs," she says.

"There are lots of organisations and citizens who have come forward, including CUPA and CARE, to raise their voice against the BBMP move.  We are asking the BBMP to basically throw out the by-laws since a by-law cannot be amended once it is made. What the authorities are saying is that when they were drafting the bye-law, they had discussions with the expert committee. But who comprises the expert committee? Do they have the statistics or ground information about those who have adopted two, three or more dogs,'' she asks?
"There is no reason in what the BBMP is doing. They have to take the opinion of the citizens. CUPA has all the statistics. I have it too,'' she says.

"Yesterday evening, we met mayor Sampath Raj and Sarfaraz Khan, (BBMP Joint Commissioner, Health and Solid Waste Management) and they have been quite considerate and sensitive to our concerns. They will be holding back the order until June 16 when there will be a council meeting to be reviewed. But this is just the first step," she says.

"What the BBMP needs to do is have animal cruelty laws in place, which will help apartment residents. A large part of the cruelty in apartments is when owners tie up their dogs on the balcony and leave them without water. But we can't just go and confiscate these dogs. If there is cruelty, we need proof for that."
More importantly, Sanjana calls for action against illegal breeders and puppy mills describing it as the need of the moment. 

"There should be laws against illegal breeding and puppy mills. These are the people who are selling dogs to those who don't have the financial backup to take care of dogs. How does that work? Apart from that, we also need ABC (Animal Birth Control) laws," she adds.     

Dr Yatheesh Chandra, Assistant Veterinary officer, Bangalore Turf Club, also echoes her thoughts. "Lot of talks are happening in this regard in the past few days. Social media is on fire with backlash from almost every pet parent. Is the BBMP right on their part, or is our love for our pets more? We should be happy that BBMP finally found time to ponder on this issue though it ended up in a blunder. This is what happens when a law is passed without understanding the ground reality. BBMP would have taken this decision only to keep a check on irresponsible pet parenting which creates discomfort to neighbours and the society. But what about those pet parents who really care for their fur babies? We should also think of pet lovers who foster several injured puppies and dogs at a time. Should they just leave them on the road? I strongly feel BBMP should rethink and ease it out on the pet parents. Emphasis should be given to registration, regular vaccination and good healthcare practices," he adds.