Live and Let Live: Unified action against RWAs that ban pets
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I, my husband and our 1 year old pet dog recently moved from Hyderabad to Kerala where we stay in the district of Thrissur with my parents. A month ago we started searching for our own place and through an online real estate portal (magicbricks) found a suitable home in a gated apartment complex in Kakkanad, Kochi (Ernakulam district).
We were very straight with the owner from the very first call. We told him we have a dog and asked him several times if that would be an issue. He kept promising us if we kept the dog inside there will be no problem. So we signed a rental agreement for 11 months on the 15th of October 2017. Since our family believes in Hindu customs we waited for a good day to move to the new house.
30-10-17, was a very good day to do this and we reached the said apartment complex around noon. As soon as we got out of the car several people from the apartment saw me walking my dog on the leash and gestured me to come near. When we went those men told me that I’m not allowed to live in the apartment with a dog since they have strict association laws that bans pets of any kind and size.
They told me last year they had evicted another family for having a pet spitz and our Labrador who is much larger than the spitz will never be allowed on the premises even if she did nothing to trouble them. Their actual words were “we don’t care whether your dog creates problems or not, we just don’t allow pets within our compound”. And they proceeded to ask us to “lose the pet or the apartment”. The landlord was called in and he totally blew us off saying that “I thought the dog was of small size, I can not ask the association to be okay with a 35kg dog. You must vacate”.
I was aware of the AWBI guidelines for apartment associations which clearly states that no association has authority to ban pets. I tried to reason with them showing them a downloaded copy of this document on my phone but they became increasingly intolerant once we mentioned that they have no legal standing to impose such a ban on pets. We have, since that day, been searching for a new house and I have checked with every possible advertisement I could find online. All but one replied the same “The association has strict laws against pets”.
This can not be allowed to continue. No RWA can make by-laws that are at variance with the laws of the country and they must be made aware of this and must be punished if continue to practice these unlawful ban on pets.
1) Please refer to Section 11 (3) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960.
2) It is also against article 51 A (g) of the Indian Constitution according to which it is the duty of every citizen to have compassion for animals, living creatures and improve the natural environment.
3) According to AWBI; Any civic body (Resident Welfare Association – RWA) does not have the right to ban residents from keeping pets in their apartments, not even by getting a majority vote in the society with the help of other tenants or residents. See the full circular, https://awbi.org/awbi-pdf/pet_dog_circular_26_2_2015.pdf
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