The civic body authorities are clueless about dog bylaws passed by the Punjab government in 2011 to keep track on pet dogs and their owners within the municipal limits.
The lack of implementation of these bylaws came to the fore after a bull mastiff mauled an eight-year-old boy to death in Ashok Vihar locality of the city on Saturday evening.
As per the bylaws, every resident should register their pets within seven days of the arrival of the pet or before April 1 each year. The dog owner will have to pay rs 250 as annual registration fee.
It is also mentioned in the bylaw that if fee is paid on May 1, the owner will have to pay rs 350.
Once a dog is registered, the MC will provide a metal dog tag in which the name and address of the owner will be engraved. The pet must wear it all the time.
Mayot Sunil Jyoti said, “I am aware of the bylaws but it is cumbersome to register all pet dogs in the city. I am really moved by the recent incident in which a boy was killed by a pet dog. But such cases are rare and a little responsibility on part of the owner can avert such incidents.”
Those who witnessed the attack said the bull mastiff was wandering outside the the house when the incident took place.
It is clearly mentioned in the bylaws that a dog without a proper tag loitering on the streets or outside its owner’s house should be taken into custody and a fine of `50 per day be imposed on the owner.
The bylaws also state that the MC staff finds it difficult to distinguish between a pet and a stray dog without a proper collar and tag.
Hence, if a pet dog is caught during a drive, it will be kept in MC custody and it might not be given back to the owner if the fine goes beyond rs250.
The bylaws also address cruelty faced by the animals. The bylaws say if an owner is convicted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, for perpetrating cruelty on a dog, the court may disqualify an owner from keeping a pet dog and and cancel his license for holding or obtaining a dog for any period.
In the absence of the implementation of rules, the pet bull mastiff has been caged since the incident took place, which may actually amount to cruelty against the animals. Local residents, on the other hand, want the killer dog to be shot dead.
As per the bylaws, both the MC and the dog owner is at fault in this case. It is the dog which might face the brunt after an innocent life has been lost.
An MC official on condition of anonymity said, “There are a few dog owners, especially NRIs, who show keenness in registering their dogs. But due to the lack of proper facilities even they fail to do so. There are incidents when a dog owner leaves his pet in the open and the usual victims are shabbily dressed people.”
Members of a city-based NGO tasked with sterilising stray dogs said at times it is difficult to distinguish between a stray dog and a pet one. Secondly, many owners carry out breeding of dogs, which according to the bylaws is illegal if not reported to the MC.
Dr Harjinder Singh, MC assistant health officer, said, “I am not clear about the dog bylaws since they have not been implemented here. The registration of dogs has not been carried out in Jalandhar for more than 10 years. I am responsible for controlling the population of stray dogs by sterilising them and not for their registration.”
He, however, maintained that after the recent incident, it is the MC’s duty to start registration of pet dogs as it will give them a fair idea about their population in the city.
Provisions of Act
· A dog without collar or metal token of registration found on streets or beyond the owner’s house could be taken into custody
· The act also says that if a pet is suffering or is suspected of having rabies it is the owner’s duty to report the matter to the licensing authority without delay
· The act recommends that if any dog owner is held guilty or is fined repeatedly for not following registration norms, he shall be disqualified for keeping pet
· The owner shall not allow the dog to roam or trespass into others’ premises. If a dog causes damage by killing or injuring livestock, its owner hall be liable for damage