Can pets be taken for a walk, State seeks to know

AWBI must clarify norms, HC told

The State government recently told the Bombay High Court that the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) must clarify whether or not pets can be taken for a walk on the road or parks during lockdown.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice S.S. Shinde was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by animal welfare activist Vineeta Tandon through advocate Harshvardhan Bhende. The PIL states that as a result of the lockdown, police stations have been arbitrarily stopping citizens taking their pets, specifically dogs, for walks.

The PIL said police stations have issued arbitrary directions to housing societies to stop residents from taking their dogs for walks. It also mentioned that ambulances or pet taxis operated by NGOs and others to ferry animals from their shelters, or pet owners to veterinary clinics are being arbitrarily stopped and digitally obstructed by the police.

The police were also refusing to issue passes for these ambulances and pet taxis, the PIL said.

‘Not practical’

In its reply, the State, through an affidavit filed by joint secretary (Animal Husbandry), said with increasing number of coronavirus cases, granting permission for pet owners to walk their dogs would not be practical as several localities have been declared containment zones and local bodies or Collectors are in a better position to take decisions after assessing the situation.

The affidavit mentioned that the demand for implementation of the guidelines proposed by AWBI cannot be fulfilled. The court had earlier asked the State to direct the police to not stop or obstruct ambulances or pet taxis ferrying sick animals.

As on March 11, AWBI had issued an advisory to not abandon any domestic animal and had directed the State to ensure proper care.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 1:48:42 AM |

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