It’s rare for pet owners to not come across hostility from their neighbours. You may be walking your pet in the park or feeding strays, and you will always come across people who are determined to make your life miserable.
Laws For Pets In India
So, here are some laws for pets in India. It’s very important that we all know the laws so that we can keep ourself safe. Remember that if you are being harassed for having a dog or a cat, the law is by your side. You just have to file an FIR.
Let’s have a look at the laws for pets in India.
1. It Is Illegal To Ban Tenants From Owning Pets
Everyone has the right to own a pet. Unless you own an exotic or endangered species, no one can tell you not to own a pet. If your house owner or neighbours object to you having a pet you can take legal action against them.
Some apartments don’t enforce an outright ban but they may give you a restriction on the size of the breed. Remember that it is against the law for anyone to impose restrictions on the size of the breed as well.
You can keep any dog, any breed as you choose. Exercising them according to their requirements is your responsibility. No one has the right to tell you what you can and can’t do with your dog as long as you are not harming them.
2. Barking Is Not Considered A Valid Reasons To Ban Pets
Barking is normal. Dogs bark to communicate with you and with others. No one can ask you not to keep a dog, or to disown your dog because they bark.
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your dogs don’t bark excessively. You can do that by working them out giving them enough mental and physical stimulation but even even then you can’t make them stop barking completely. No one can take objection or harass you for it.
3. Committee Members Cannot Ban You From Using The Elevators When You Are With Your Dog
You have every right to use the lift with your dog as much as everyone else. In 2008, a housing society had banned a family with an 11-year-old dog, with arthritis, from using the lift. After taking legal measures, the family received INR 5,000/- as compensation and were allowed to use the lift again.
Their story is truly inspiring and shows us that the legal system is on your side! If you have done nothing wrong, you should take legal help and fight the harassment.
4. Pets Can’t Be Banned From Gardens And/Or Parks
Building authorities cannot ban you or fine you for taking your dog for a walk in the gardens. You can visit the parks as much as anyone else.
Pets have a similar IQ as a 2-year-old child and they enjoy play as much as children do. It would be cruel to deprive them of running and getting their energy out.
Being A Responsible Pet Owner In India
Now that we know the rights we have, it is also important to honour those rights and be responsible around others who don’t own pets. After all, it only takes one irresponsible person to ignite hate and judgement amongst pet owners and non-pet owners.
So, here are some things every pet owner should do, or consider doing, to maintain peace and harmony within the society.
1. Respect Those Who Are Afraid Of Dogs
Most non-pet owners are not trying to give you a hard time. Some people are just afraid. It has nothing to do with your dog, whether your dog is big or small, friendly or not, some people will be afraid regardless of their physical traits.
If a person tells you they are afraid of your dog, it is ideal to leash your dog and honour the person’s wishes. This will get rid of a lot of misconceptions they have about pet owners.
2. Avoid The Park When There Are Children
Unless your dog is well trained or is loved by children, we will suggest avoiding the park when it is crowded with kids. Some dogs love kids while others don’t. Either way, most kids that weren’t raised with dogs aren’t comfortable with dogs. So, it’s best to respect a child’s wishes when they are out playing.
Many dogs get very excited around running, shouting kids and they want to chase kids. This behaviour should be discouraged even when it’s done playfully. Watching a dog running towards a child can be very traumatizing for small children and this won’t help get your dog a good reputation either.
If you really have to take them out when it’s crowded, consider leashing your dog to keep them safe. Or, you can take them to a secluded area so that they can play freely and relieve themselves.
3. Clean Up After Your Pet
Though there aren’t any norms that ask you to clean up after your dog, it is only civil to pick up their poop whenever they relieve themselves outside. You can carry a polythene bag with you or you can use a poop scooper. It is completely hands-free and allows you to keep the locality clean.
If we clean up after our pet, non-pet owners are less likely to harass you and both parties can maintain a civil relationship with each other.
We understand that when it comes to keeping and loving pets, India has a long way to go. However, statistics show that India is the fastest-growing pet industry in the world. This means that day by day, families and neighbours are becoming more hospitable towards pets.
As pet owners, it is important to respect our neighbours but also understand when we’re being harassed. People pass comments now and again and we all have to tolerate it. But if snide comments are turning into a daily ordeal, fights and threats, you must file an FIR.
There are rules that protect us and we must all be aware of our rights. Sometimes a simple conversation can help your neighbours understand your legal rights, other times, you may be required to take legal action.
If we all act responsibly and fight for our rights, we can make the country more hospitable to new pet owners every day.