Kerala

Pet owners ecstatic about court ruling about keeping pets in apartments

File photo for representation   | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The recent Kerala High Court verdict rendering clauses in bylaws of residents associations banning owners/occupiers of residential apartments from keeping pets of their choice or accessing the elevators and common facilities in apartment buildings as void and unenforceable in law seems to have divided opinion.

While the flat owners associations are disappointed about the ruling it has brought cheers to enthusiastic pet owners and animal welfare organisations.

"We haven't yet broached the subject. However, it seems like associations would have to create awareness about the practical difficulties of having pets in flats and appeal to tenants to desist from it voluntarily. We will have to meet and issue guidelines on the basis of majority opinion," said V. S. Somanathan, general secretary of the All Kerala Flat Owners Association.

He said that while pets are definitely loveable they could pose problems in apartment complexes. "Even cleaning staff would not clean up dog poop and there is the danger of unleashed pets endangering the safety of children," Mr. Somanathan said.

Jayadeep Narasimhan, a tenant at a prominent apartment complex in the city, fumed that Kerala is one of the rare States where an unwritten rule against pets persists. "As we are increasingly shifting towards a flat culture are we here talking about a world without pets. The elitist apartment association members unilaterally pass diktats against pets. As long as pets can be groomed without causing trouble to others they should be allowed," he said.

People moving into apartments are either forced to abandon their pets or keep them at pet lodges at considerable cost. "The emotional trauma it causes to children in the family is enormous. My two young children are still reduced to tears whenever they see a dog on television ever since we have to separate them from our pet dog and lodge it in a pet hostel since we moved into the apartment a couple of months back," said Mr. Narasimhan.

Ambili Purackal, coordinator of Daya Animal Welfare Organisation, said that pet owners already had the right to keep their pets in apartments even before the recent court ruling. "Unless the beneficiaries are courageous enough to claim their due rights no rule will be of any use. Often tenants in apartments succumb to the pressure of apartment associations and owners when it comes to pets," she said.

Sonika Satheesh, a veterinary surgeon, recollected an incident in which a resident of an apartment used to smuggle out and in her cat for treatment fearing backlash from the association. "For many apartment residents the mere knowledge about the existence of a pet in any apartment is ground enough to complain though the pets may not have created any nuisance," she said.


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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 2:25:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/pet-owners-ecstatic-about-court-ruling-about-keeping-pets-in-apartments/article37337868.ece

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