It is now mandatory throughout the country for all pet owners to get their dogs registered with the local municipal authorities. This is a huge step towards making our cities pet-friendly.

 

 

Across the country, it has become mandatory for all pet owners to now register their dogs with the local municipal authorities. This is a positive move, not just in light of the plight of animals in domestic care, but also to ensure the order is maintained in the way dogs interact with humans in society, and vice-versa.

For time immemorial, dogs have probably been the first domestic animals, and have accompanied humans for as long as 20,000 years. In modern settlements, where there is a pressure of population and close density of settlements, there is now a need for local authorities to set down strict guidelines on how pet dogs should be cared for by domestic owners, and the rules owners must keep in mind when taking them out in public. This is especially true as in recent times the number of dog bite cases has gone-up drastically, and more cases of animal cruelty are also coming to the fore.

I am glad that both India’s political capital, and business capital, Delhi and Mumbai respectively, have initiated steps to ensure that animal lovers fall in line with registering dogs, thereby coming under the scanner with respect to responsibilities like vaccination.

In Mumbai, the BMC has issued guidelines regarding pet dogs to help curb diseases like rabies and leptospirosis. The authorities can seize your pet dog at home if you don’t have the required license. As per section 191 (A) of the MMC Act, it is compulsory for pet dog owners to have a license. The BMC charges Rs 105 for providing a license and Rs 100 for its renewal every year. According to civic data, a total of 1,09,563 dog bite cases were reported in the city from March 2017 to February 2018.

To ensure the effective implementation of the act, the BMC has appointed veterinary doctors in each of seven administrative zones. They visit housing societies in their areas to survey pet dogs. Notices are sent to owners who haven’t got licenses.

Similarly, section 399 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act 1957 makes registration mandatory for all domesticated dogs. The section also empowers the MCD to detain a dog discovered in a public place in case it has not been registered, or lacks some proof of registry by a competent authority.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, non-compliance with the directive to register your pet could invite consequences like being given a challan or even the prosecution of the owner. Vaccinations available in the market are effective for two to three years. But the rabies virus is in endemic form in the country, as per the World Health Organisation, which makes it vital for pets to be vaccinated every year.

I can see that even smaller cities are taking this law seriously. The Punjab Government’s Local Bodies Department implemented the Punjab Municipal (Registration and Proper Control of the Animal and Vision of Animal Attack), bylaws 2017, in order to make pet interaction with society more orderly. The Local Bodies’ Department dispatched the bylaws to municipal corporations, municipal councils and Nagar Panchayats across the state.

In the diamond-city of Surat, a 2015 estimate pegged the number of pets across 20,000 households at 25,000. Here animal lovers had started a campaign to have local authorities make it mandatory to register pets. With the Kennel Club being absent here, pet owners could have pets registered through the microchip method where smart-chips were being embedded subcutaneously in the pet, also enabling owners of lost pets to locate their missing dogs with ease.

In Goa, too, directives were passed earlier this year to grant pet owners registration by tagging dogs’ collars. The state had successfully implemented registration of pet dogs as far back as the 1970s. Currently, there is a gap with civic authorities having the wherewithal to do the needful but efforts have been underway to make it mandatory for pet owners to have their dogs registered because local authorities are alarmed at the number of rabies cases that are being reported.

If you are a pet owner, I would recommend you definitely have your dog registered with the local authorities. Once you do so, in the event your dog bites someone, you—as the owner—can avoid punishment by showing the certificate of registry for your pet. You may also find a registry certificate useful to locate a pet who may be lost and should your ownership of your pet ever be in question, the certificate comes in handy.

Animal lovers can take heart in the fact that this law for registering dogs makes it difficult for callous pet owners to abandon old pets, or pets with diseases, as is the case for many unfortunate domestic dogs in our country.

Getting a dog registered is not a tedious process. In Delhi, for example, you need a vaccination slip from the vet, along with a photo of your pet and Rs 50 to register your pet at a zonal office. In south Delhi, pet owners can register their pets with the authorities online at a cost of Rs 500. This has been a positive development and the number of pets being registered in this part of the capital went up from 200 for the years 2015-16 to 333 for the years 2016-17.

To get your dog registered with your municipal corporation, you need to visit the municipal corporation offices of your area and ask for forms. Some municipal corporations provide online forms as well.

 

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