If you’re a dog-lover living in an apartment in Bengaluru, you may not be allowed to keep a large dog anymore. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike has sent out a set of draft guidelines for approval, putting restrictions on the number and kind of pets people are permitted to keep.
The BBMP’s Animal Husbandry department has listed a set of dog breeds like German Shepherd, English Mastiffs, Alaskan Malamute, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, Great Danes and St Bernard as large animals and cannot be kept in apartment buildings.
If implemented, the guidelines also restrict apartment residents from having more than one small-sized pet in their homes.
Understandably, several pet owners in the city are angry.
“The civic body has never performed its duty when it comes to controlling the population of strays. How can they decide how many pets one can have in their homes?” asks Supriya Ramaswami, a resident of Bilekahalli, who has a German Shepard and a Golden Retriever.
“What happens to people who already have more than one dog and do not want to let them go? The guidelines do not take into account the area of the apartment and whether it can accommodate the pets, and this is ridiculous,” she added.
Apartment-dwellers are the ones most hit by the proposed rules as independent home owners are allowed to have up to three pets.
“If the guidelines come into force and the dog owners want to keep their pets and not give them away, then they have no choice but to move to an independent house,” said Dr Anand, Joint Director of the Animal Husbandry Department, BBMP.
"If people have more than one dog, then they have to chooe the one they love the most and give up the others if the guidelines come into force," said Dr Anand.
An official at the Animal Husbandry Department said that the civic body had received numerous complaints from apartment dwellers that the dogs were creating a menace. Another major problem is that the dogs litter the area and the lack of hygiene has irked many residents.
“There were complaints that there were too many dogs in apartment buildings and some of the resident were not happy with the noise and nuisance created by them. Hence these guidelines have been proposed,” the official added.
Priya Chetty Rajagopal of a dog lovers' group said that this would affect many dogs which need to be rescued.
“Just a few days ago, an acquaintance of mine rescued an Alaskan Malamute that was abandoned. He is a pet owner and already has a Husky. There are people who abandon dogs and it is left to the responsible citizens to take care of them. What happens to all these dogs if the guidelines come into force?” she questioned.
Besides, the BBMP’s guidelines include mandatory licensing of pets, and obtaining a separate licence for breeding if the pets are not sterilised. It also imposes a penalty on pet owners who don’t clean up after their pets in public spaces.
But the draft guidelines for pet dogs by the Animal Welfare Board of India explicitly state that no residents’ association can insist that only 'small-size' dogs are acceptable and ban larger breeds. Associations cannot cite barking as a valid reason for any proposed ban or restriction.
Dr Anand said that pets will not be given the vaccination if they are not licenced. Hence pet owners will have to register them.
“The civic body is not focusing on a bigger issue, which is the breeding of dogs that are not suited to live in Bengaluru due to the climatic conditions and many illegal dog breeders have cropped up in the city. In 2015, CUPA came out with a report and have provided proof that there is illegal breeding. If the officials care about animals, why can’t they do something about this?” questioned the secretary of the Karnataka Animal Welfare Association.