BBMP says that pet owners with more than the prescribed limit of dogs have to give them up for adoption.

No BBMP you cannot take away my dogs Your byelaws are vicious writes a Bengalurean
news Blog Wednesday, June 06, 2018 - 16:19

This morning, my apartment owner came up to me and said, “Now, you cannot keep this dog in the house anymore. The BBMP has made a new rule.” She was pointing at Frejya, my Indie (stray) dog.

She also insisted that I had to give up my other dogs and keep just one at home.

Despite trying to explain to her that according to the draconian and utterly inhumane rule proposed by the BBMP, I could, in fact, keep one dog and that the byelaw is still under public consultation, she was not ready to listen to reason. The damage had been done. She had made up her mind and expects me to abandon my dog.

“No, I read in the newspaper. The rule has been passed. You have to take your dogs and give them to a dog pound in a week. Also, they had said you cannot keep stray dogs inside the house. Apparently, they are very aggressive. What if your dog ends up biting my grandchildren?” she argued.

The BBMP's new pet licensing byelaw says that someone living in an apartment can have only one dog, while those living in a house can have three dogs. What’s more, the BBMP even has an approved list of dogs that are allowed in residences – the indie or the Indian street dog is not in this list.

Read: One dog per apartment, 3 in independent house: BBMP’s new laws anger B’luru pet owners

Three-month-old Freyja is a sweet, goofy and an extremely friendly dog. Her presence lights up the room, her quirks can make the saddest person burst out laughing.

She has the ability to perceive emotions better than most people I know and she knows when I am sad or worried about something. She pitter-patters across the living room, picks up her chew stick, jumps onto my lap and offers it to me. She believes that sharing her food or toys with me would make me happy.

Frejya’s joyful disposition has got me through many miserable days. She has healed me in many ways that are indescribable. To me, Frejya is a living example of true happiness and the thought of her being taken away from me breaks my heart.

The Joint Director of the BBMP’s Animal Husbandry Department, G Anand says that pet owners have to give up pet dogs above the prescribed limit for adoption, leave it in the care of relatives or find some other alternative.

“The BBMP is not responsible for it. You are the pet owner, you have to put it up for adoption,” he said.

What was G Anand doing when so many such “stray dogs” were on the streets, fending for themselves? Who gave BBMP the right to separate us from those we love? Where was the BBMP when Frejya was in need of a home? 

The BBMP does not have the capacity to manage a single Animal Birth Control Centre or even find space for one. Sarvodaya Seva Samstha, the only one in the city was moved to Jakkur, far away from the city because the Palike could not find a proper space within city limits.

Now they are out to separate us from our dogs, whom we have had for so long, whom we have grown to love. Where is the space for these dogs which it expects us to abandon? What is the guarantee that our dogs will be taken care of and not become victims of cruelty? Would any of these officials give up their children?  

For our pet dogs, we are their family. We may be the ones who provide them with food and shelter, but they fill our lives with joy. Our dogs understand us.

For some of us, being with our dogs may as well be the only source of happiness, the only way of coping with the world we live in.

Who gave BBMP the authority to determine how many family members one gets to keep? Freyja is a family member. She cries at the sight of me leaving home for work. She jumps with joy when I return.

Bengaluru has numerous dogs that have been abandoned. Volunteers from animal shelters are struggling to find loving homes for these dogs. Where will all these forcefully abandoned dogs go?

When the Joint Director can say that BBMP is not responsible, then who is? Where is the “larger interest of the public” in this insensitive, inhumane and vicious byelaw? I directly perceive this a threat to me. No, the BBMP cannot take away my family from me. I will fight this until I know that the incompetent Palike understands how cruel this rule is. Until the Joint Director and people like him realise that tearing apart families is in no way in the larger public interest.

Hundreds of dog lovers in Bengaluru and I will take you on and we will win. We will not allow you to bring upon sorrow and misery in the lives of so many dogs and their owners. I say, bring it on.

Views expressed are author's own

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