Strict action against Resident & Apartment Associations that Ban pets
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Its against the law to ban pets from residences and apartments . Plain and simple. Yet hundreds of associations make bylaws banning pets ( not tenable or implementable ) routinely break the law , either in ignorance or disinterest by banning pets , and implementing this , with punishments that range from fines to outright evictions. In addition to being illegal, it puts a huge pressure on the system by resulting in pets being given up ,sent to shelters, even abandoned and euthanized, a false choice created in addition to families who remain shattered that they have had to choose.Strict action should be taken by the heartless people who do this , especially since it goes against the law of the land. Unless some form of punishment , either a fine or community service is given, the fragrant disobeying of the notification will simple NOT stop.
We ask that the police & lawmakers step up to enforce this if any cases were to come up. Most people say that police is indifferent so don’t have dairy in taking this up. In addition, we should scan the bylaws of a few sample Associations ( available with the Registrar) and anyone with this illegal pet ban clause should KEB firmly & summarily dealt with. Registrar of Societies should also take action against such Apartment or Resident Welfare Associations. The Registrar apparently has the power to dissolve or derecognise an RWA, if need be and if illegal actions are undertaken . Associations can't impose or pass by laws as it has no legal sanction.The lack of awareness has resulted in some form of goondagiri and bullying by those who do not want pets. Further bullying by the Association would amount to criminal intimidation & can result in a NCR being filed under Section 506 which can then be taken up by police and magistrate .Yes, pet parents need to be super vigilant in ensuring that the pets are responsibly managed , vaccinated , leashed , poop always picked up and use public spaces like lifts etc sensitively.However, while this side needs to be managed , the law is the law , and apartment associations cannot break it .
We come across at least 5 complaints per week, and many where the level of bullying and threats is extreme. People rarely escalate fearing rebuke & breaking the law with neighbours. The families suffer as do the pets.This bullying & ignorant intimidation has to STOP.
The Animal Welfare Board of india ie AWBI says : 'If at all any association succeeds in intimidating a pet owner into 'giving up' or 'abandoning' a pet, it will actually have abetted violating the law and may well be aggravating the menace of ownerless animals on the street, that are not accustomed to living on the streets and, therefore, get involved in and lead to accidents, injuries and deaths. The association will therefore be guilty of criminal intimidation . Intimidation is an offence in law.'
Please refer to Section 11 (3) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960. 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. Thakur said, “The society resolution is illegal as it is unconstitutional.”
"It is well-known that in the recent times, RWAs, apartment owners' associations, cooperative group housing societies and other gated complexes, have taken to imposing many unreasonable restrictions on pet-owning residents such as disallowing the use of lifts or parks by pets, or even banning pets altogether. They are also known to frequently encourage mistreatment, dislocation and dumping of street dogs." The circular also acknowledged that compassionate people who wish to tend to and feed street dogs, are often discouraged and pressurised to refrain from doing so. There is widespread resentment against these moves, which apart from being unreasonable, is also unlawful and against recent court rulings.
With regards to pet dogs which are usually targeted by society members who would promptly 'legislate' in general body meetings and pass resolutions banning pets and controlling their behaviour, the circular says:
Even by obtaining consensus or even if a majority of the residents want it, one cannot legally introduce any sort of 'ban' on the keeping of pet dogs by residents. Nobody can insist that 'small-sized' dogs are acceptable and 'large-sized' dogs are not. No member or committee can cite barking as a valid and compelling reason for any ban sought to be introduced.
Members cannot do it even by amending bylaws or regulations and as such a 'ban' cannot be put into place since it is illegal and does not have the sanction of the law. In fact, in trying to 'ban' pets, or limit their number, you interfere with a fundamental freedom, guaranteed to the citizens of India i.e. the freedom to choose the life they wish to live, which includes facets such as living with or without the companionship of animals.
If the resident with pet/s does not violate any civic or other laws, nobody in the society has the right to object. The general body cannot frame or amend bylaws that are at variance with the laws of the country. Even by a complete majority, a general body cannot adopt an illegality. No one has the right to legislate and 'lay down law' for residents and apartment owners or even tenants.
With regard to a common scourge for pet-owners, the use of lifts by pets, AWBI has laid down that there are court rulings to the effect that pets cannot be disallowed from the use of lifts by pets. A court has, in fact, known to have observed that 'dogs are family' and can use lifts for free. One has to ensure that this kind of a restriction is, therefore, not imposed in the form of either a ban or any special charges for the use of lifts by pets.
With regards to the use of parks by pets, AWBI says, "Banning pets from garden or parks is short-sighted. Firstly, you may or may not own the garden or park in question. Secondly, pets that are not properly exercised may show aggression in frustration and that surely, cannot contribute to the benefit of the residents. It may be better to fix timings when pets can be walked without causing inconvenience to other residents. These timings can then be intimated to the general body." Where the use of leashes/muzzles by pet owners, defecation by pets in community premises, imposition of fines and other similar measures is concerned, a member may request pet-owners to keep their pets on leash when walking them in common areas. One cannot, however, insist on the use of muzzles. The law already provides for penalties for negligent pet owners, which the aggrieved parties can avail of.
AIWA has even clarified on the issue of cleaning of pet excreta by pet owners. "In the absence of central or state laws requiring cleaning of pet excreta by pet owners, one cannot impose any rule regulating bylaws with respect to mandatory cleaning of the same or impose special charges or fines on pet owners." Members could experiment with the creation of various pet defecation areas within community premises. These can be imaginatively spaced out within the precincts and one may request petowners to train their pets using the same. Nobody can however, impose fines and special charges of any kind on pet owners because there is no mandate in the law for the same.
If at all any association succeeds in intimidating a pet owner into 'giving up' or 'abandoning' a pet, it will actually have abetted violating the law and may well be aggravating the menace of ownerless animals on the street, that are not accustomed to living on the streets and, therefore, get involved in and lead to accidents, injuries and deaths. The association will therefore be guilty of criminal intimidation . Intimidation is an offence in law.
Please ensure this is properly actioned so pet owners are not routinely threatened and their rights violated.
- https://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/notice-to-kanchanjunga-coop-group-housing0001.pdf Sample legal notice to apartment owners association
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