Stop the harassment & ill-treatment of Pet & Stray Animals by Housing Societies and RWAs
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- By way of this Petition, I pray to the Government of Maharashtra, through the Chief Minister, Minister of Environment and Minister of Animal Husbandry to issue a circular/ Order for Protection of Pet and Stray animals especially with respect to i. Ownership of Pets in Apartments and residential complexes, ii. Feeding of Strays by residents of an apartment/ Cooperative Housing Society and iii. Strays taking shelter within residential complexes.
- On 18 August 2020, it was all over the news that the Thane Police have registered a case of suspected poisoning of 19 Cats in a Society in Thane. In and around July 2020 an FIR has been registered with the Mulund Police station for suspected poisoning and disappearance of 8-9 strays within a month from a housing complex in Mulund. Around 29 July 2019, a piece of heartbreaking news made headlines where security guards of an upscale apartment on Worli Seaface, upon instructions of a resident, brutally beat up a stray dog to who had come seeking shelter from the torrential rain, resulting in his death.
- The above mentioned are just 3 of the thousands of incidents that happen on a daily basis within the state of Maharashtra and more so in the cities. Most Animal welfare NGOs and Animal Rights activists get phone calls on a daily basis to report such incidents occurring in residential complexes where happy, healthy, regularly fed strays are suddenly found dead and then start the rounds of the veterinarians for treatment or post-mortem, of the police station to try to get an FIR registered, etc. only to have the animal succumb to his/her internal/external injuries.
- Apartments and Housing Complexes are known to officially/ unofficially issue absurd and irrational guidelines/ circulars/ bylaws with respect to Pet Ownership as also with respect to feeding/ shelter of strays in the Apartment/ Complex. Some of such guidelines/bylaws w.r.t Pets are i. residents not allowed to keep pets/ companion animals, ii. restricting the 'size' of the pet that can be kept for eg. only a small breed dog/ cat being allowed and larger breeds disallowed iii. pets aren't allowed to go for their walks in the common areas used by the rest of residents, iv. specifically asking to walk pets outside the apartment/complex v. ban on use of lifts by pets vii. muzzling all pets without taking into consideration the temperament, etc. Similarly, some such actions/guidelines/bylaws w.r.t strays are i. instructing guards to beat up and drive away strays from the apartment/complex, even if they are just taking shelter during the rains, ii. Poisoning of strays in order to reduce their population, iii. relocating the strays, which are known to be territorial animals, from their location iv. ban on the feeding of strays in or even around the complex, in spite of various judgements of courts and animal welfare board of India guidelines., etc
- Despite our Constitution casting upon us a fundamental duty of love, care and compassion towards the animal kingdom and the environment at large, despite various circulars time and again issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and various NGOs across the country, pleading with people to adopt the Indian Pariah (Desi Dogs) or at least to treat them kindly on the streets and feed them whenever possible, despite various circulars issued by the AWBI declaring such above mentioned rules/bylaws as illegal and despite Judgements from various High Courts protecting the rights of these animals including the landmark Judgment of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Karnail Singh and Others vs. State of Haryana which declared the citizens to be persons in loco parentis (in place of parents) as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals, the apartment/residential complexes continue to issue guidelines/ circulars/ bylaws as mentioned in paragraph 4 above, in violation of the laws.
- As a society, as citizens of this country and as humans we have a responsibility of being compassionate and kind towards the voiceless and be their voice. We must adhere to our responsibility and our duty that the Constitution of this country and the Court has put on us i.e. of being persons in loco parentis of these animals. Hence, in view of what is stated above, I seek from the Government of Maharashtra a Circular/ an Order issuing appropriate guidelines to Resident Welfare Associations and/or Apartment Owners Associations and/or Residential/ Apartment Complexes for Protection of the rights of Pet & Stray Animals in and around residential areas within the State of Maharashtra. [As a reference point, I wish to point out i. Circular No. AHF 114 AHP 2015 (P1) dated 13.07.2020 issued by the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department, Government of Karnataka framing guidelines for Resident Welfare Associations and Apartment Owners Associations for protection of Pet and Stray Animals; ii. Letter dated 02.02.2012 issued by the Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon to the President, Resident Welfare Association regarding curbing of cruelty against animals by Resident Welfare Associations; iii. Circular dated 19.01.2016 issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government Of India, regarding the keeping of pets and the feeding of street animals etc.]
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