Curbs lifted on taking pets for a walk

Free to roam: The State government circular lifts restrictions on walking pets during the lockdown.

Free to roam: The State government circular lifts restrictions on walking pets during the lockdown.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

State government issues circular directing police, civic officials to grant permission

Pet owners in Maharashtra have been allowed to take their animals outside for walks during the lockdown, the State government told the Bombay High Court on Friday.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice AA Sayed was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by animal welfare activist Vineeta Tandon seeking permission to take her dogs outside. The PIL, filed through advocate Harshwardhan Bhende, said several police stations in Pune had issued arbitrary directions to housing societies to stop residents from taking their pets, specifically dogs, for walks.

The PIL also mentioned instances of the police stopping ambulances and pet taxis from ferrying animals from shelters and taking sick pets to veterinary clinics. The PIL said the police were refusing to issue passes to operate such ambulances and pet taxis during the lockdown.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) issued a circular on June 1 directing the local administration to create at least three time slots of 20 minutes each in all zones so that residents can take their pets out. The circular also mentioned that pet owners have to adhere to the “Board’s guideline for pet owners and caregivers to be followed during this period of COVID-19 pandemic 2020”.

Mr. Singh on Friday submitted the AWBI circular to the court, saying that the Central government’s stand was in consonance with it. During the previous hearing on May 10, the court had asked the Centre to make clear its stand on the issue.

State Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said the Maharashtra government has issued a similar circular directing police and civic officials not to prohibit owners from walking their pets.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 11:38:28 AM |

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