After beating a hasty retreat a year ago in the face of intense opposition from pet owners, the civic body is all set to reboot its proposal for a pet dog licensing system. The draft rules will likely be published soon and opened for public consultation, sources said.
This time around, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has held multiple stakeholder meetings with pet dog owners, rescuers, and animal welfare organisations and redrafted the rules. We hope to turn it into a reality this time around, senior civic officials said. “This time, the rules are more practical and are firmly oriented towards civic responsibility and welfare of the dogs,” said Priya Chetty Rajagopal, a pet dog owner who was at the forefront of opposition to the licensing rules in its last version and part of the consultation process during the second round.
One of the most controversial clauses that faced stiff opposition was limiting the number of pet dogs per house - one per flat in group housing and three per independent house - and its retrospective implementation, raising the spectre of separation of pets from their owners. “The limit remains the same. But we will license all existing pet dogs and implement the norm only prospectively,” said S.M. Manjunath Shinde, joint director, Animal Husbandry, BBMP.
“The limit should not be implemented with only a penal perspective. There are many rescuers who foster dogs. This is much needed as there is a lack of care home infrastructure in the city,” said Sneha Nandihal, pet owner. Special provisions are being made to relax the limit for genuine rescuers, sources said.
Each pet dog that will be licensed will have a microchip with the owner’s details as well as vaccination records, which will help assign responsibility and hold pet owners who abandon them accountable, said Dr. Shinde.
Given that a significant number of dog bite cases are from pets, ensuring vaccination is the key, he said.
“We have recommended all female pet dogs be neutered and if not, pet owners have to take a breeder’s license that has to be renewed every year,” he said.
Parviz Ahmed Piran, CEO, Vet Society for Animal Welfare and Rural Development, and former joint director, Animal Husbandry, BBMP, said a pet dog licensing system was the need of the hour.
“It was first proposed in 2014 before I left BBMP and it is sad that the city is yet to implement such a policy. Such a system is key to prevent hoarding of dogs in bad living conditions and their exploitation. But the cost of the microchip needs to be borne by the pet owner and the licensing fee for indie breeds has to be a third of that of pedigree dogs,” Mr. Piran said.