Apathy on the part of the Municipal Corporation Jalandhar (MCJ) in registering pet dogs in the city is exposing both the residents and canines to hazards.
While on the one hand, some people treat their pets badly in the absence of a proper monitoring agency, on the other, the municipal authorities are left with few or no legal options if a person is bitten by a pet dog.
The only dog pound in the city is run by People for Animals (PFA), an NGO. Every year, it receives an average of 50-60 dogs that are abandoned by their owners.
Generally, owners abandon their sick and old dogs at the pound.
Aarti, a dog lover and owner from Model Town, said many people buy dogs just for the sake of owning one. They are not acquainted with the nuances of rearing a dog which in turn has a negative impact on the physical and psychological health of the animal.
Dog is a sensitive animal and is dependent on its master. Pet dogs of different breeds are prone to diseases and need constant medical attention and regular vaccination, especially for contagious diseases like rabies and parvovirus.
Many pet dogs in the city are not vaccinated on time, thus exposing them to critical diseases.
If the MC starts registration of dogs by following the guidelines laid under the Punjab Dog Bylaws passed in 2011, owners will have to keep a medical record of their pets.
“In case, a pet dog bites someone one can demand the vaccination record which will help clarify if the dog is rabid, thus saving a lot of time and money of the victim,” said Aarti.
There are people who buy a dog but once the animal contracts some illness, they take it to a pound or abandon it in the absence of proper monitoring agency.
Dr Chander Bhushan of PFA said, “If there are proper checks and balances in place for pet dogs, many animals will be saved from getting abandoned. People come to me with their ill pets and lie so that the animal is kept in the dog pound. This is really sad as it takes a toll on the health of the animal.”
In the absence of implementation of the dog bylaws, both the animal and the person who get bitten are at risk. The recent incident in which a bull mastiff killed an eight-year-old might be a stray incident.
PFA members said the MC is least bothered about the issue of registering pet dogs or controlling the population of stray dogs.
The NGO had asked for a compound for keeping dogs about 10 years ago but nothing has been done by the MC till date.
“MC officials speak only when some mishap occurs. Soon after the issue fizzes out after a few days they stop bothering about the issue. In the absence of proper laws it is the animal and residents who are facing the brunt of uncontrolled dog population in the city,” said Dr Bhushan.