For years, pet shops owners have been operating in the city, illegally selling and buying animals without bothering to obtain a licence from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
Not many know there is a provision in the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Act) for obtaining a trade licence for carrying out sale and purchase of four legged animals -- such as dogs, cows.
After receiving scores of complaints about the ill treatment of animals by pet shop owners, the civic agency has now decided to frame a policy to regularise the trade. Pet shop owners in the city will now have to obtain a licence for running their shops.
"We didn't have a policy in place but recently several animal activists had raised this issue. Maneka Gandhi had also raised this issue recently," said MCD Commissioner K.S. Mehra.
However, the legislative wing of the civic agency is clueless about such a policy being framed up. "We can't issue licence for the sale and purchase of animals. Pet shop owners will have to get licences for selling food items and other accessories," said Vijendra Gupta, chairman of the standing committee of the MCD.
Animal lovers' have welcomed the move but are skeptical about its implementation. "The provision is already there in the DMC Act but it was not being enacted. At least some sort of regulation will be done now. But the problem is not only with issuance of licence but the way animals are kept in these shops. Breeding rules are not followed by these owners and they are kept in the most unhygienic conditions," said Gautam Grover, managing trustee, Animal Saviour.
Mehra further said that a licence fee would be charged from the owner for which there is already a provision in the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act. The civic body can currently charge only Rs 500 from the owners but the MCD may hike the rate.