Readers’ take: With pet care comes responsibility
Officials should be accountable
The administration should build more dog shelters with catcher teams doing rounds of sectors to capture strays and pets that have bitten people previously but are not controlled by the owners. The animals should also be neutered and accountability of officials in charge fixed if the dog population increases and hefty fines imposed on pet owners not following rules.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali
Track stray dogs
The UT administration’s new notification on rules and regulations for pet dogs in the city – with a manifold increase in application fee and penalty for non registration of pets and maintenance charges – appears to be a move to generate more revenues by the fund- starved authorities. All the clauses in the notifications pertain to pet dogs and not stray dogs, which actually rule the streets of the city. Most of the pet lovers have got their animals registered, vaccinated and take care of their medical needs through veterinary facilities in and around the city. There are likely be some cases of dog bites by pet dogs, but such occurrences are far and few and mostly stem from disputes between neighbours. The real problem in the city is that of stray dogs and their increasing numbers. Municipal authorities wake up once in a while, when cases of dog bites are repeated and the public makes a hue and cry about it, but things go back to normal once again. The authorities should start tracking all strays by putting collars on them with magnetic chips or GPS like device to keep their numbers under control.
Suresh Verma, Chandigarh
Clean up after pets
Making registration of pet dogs compulsory with heavy penalty for those not abiding by the rules is doubtlessly right. It is also advisable that dog owners muzzle the pet and carry bags and scoops to pick up the animal’s excreta. Surprisingly, however, controlling the dog population remains a continuous challenge for the administration.
Surinder Paul Wadhwa, Mohali.
Pets need to be exercised too
In revised rules for pets, prohibiting owners from taking pet dogs to parks/gardens/public places I feel is totally unfair to the poor dogs. As much as it’s important for humans to maintain their health, dogs require proper physical exercise daily. If not done so they will develop health issues and anxiety/depression. It can also make them more aggressive. This is denial of their rights. Walking dogs on narrow pavements is difficult due to other pedestrians and sometimes many people are scared of dogs. The solution is with the pet owners who should religiously follow rules by carrying a scoop and disposable bag with them to remove the excreta of the dog and deposit it in the garbage. A leash should be carried to ensure the safety of people in the park. Also, separate timings can be set for allowing dogs into parks. It’s all about co-existence. We can choose to live in harmony with other species and not act selfishly.
Prabhjot Kaur Bawa, Chandigarh.
More dog shelters please
One needs to be very responsible to own a pet and ensure that the animal causes no harm to others and is well trained. As for strays, they need to be vaccinated so that they do not bite people and expose them to high risk of rabies etc. A separate authority should be set up to look into the matter. Dog shelter homes should be opened by government to provide food and shelter to street dogs.
Shweta Kapoor, Ludhiana
MC needs more funds, staff to sort out problem
The municipal corporation must be given adequate funds and staff to sterilise dogs and eliminate those that attack people. The authorities should also ensure that hospitals are well equipped to deal with increasing dog-bite cases. Dog pounds must be created. Those who wish to adopt young pups can do so from these pounds on reasonable payment. The money thus collected can be used to run these pounds. Human lives are precious and laws should be amended to ensure no one faces the risk of dog attacks.
Vijay Malia, Chandigarh
People need to be trained in pet etiquette
Only by making the registration of pet dogs compulsory we will not be able to save the tricity from going to hell in a handbasket. As responsible dog owners people should be imparted training in pet etiquette before owning one. Classes should be mandatory and conducted by experts in the field. Stray dogs should not only be caught and sterilised but also sent to shelters. They should not be released at spots where they were caught.
Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana
Owners need to keep pets under control
There should be strict rules of dog ownership like not letting unleashed dogs out in the open or leaving them alone at home when the owner goes to work or leaves town. It has been seen that often in multistorey housing owners tie up their dogs in a common area or entrance point causing inconvenience to the rest the residents. Fines must be imposed on those who don’t keep their dogs within specified boundaries. The government should ban feeding of stray dogs and ensure the animals are sterilised. Well maintained dog shelters should be set up to ensure that the animals are looked after well in the owners’ absence. A separate cell should be formed to look after the stray dogs and to keep an eye on rule violators.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Involve PETA, RWAs in drives
A toll-free number should be set up to help citizens report strays. Regular vaccination campaigns should be undertaken with support from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Strays should be taken to shelters and cared for. Special teams should be allocated sector wise for strict implementation of laws and take the help of RWAs. All rules should be enforced strictly.
Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh
Dog lovers should not inconvenience others
A stiff penalty for registering pets will hardly serve the purpose of controlling the dog population. What the MC authorities can do in this scenario, is to stop registering pet dogs if the owner is living in flats or in houses measuring less than 10 marla. Keeping pet dogs is no doubt a noble gesture but it must not inconvenience people. In Manimajra’s Modern Housing Complex about a 100 pet dogs, mostly unregistered are taken out for walks and defecate and urinate regularly in the lanes, but the owners do not bother to clean up after them.
SC Luthra, Chandigarh
Strays need chips on collars/ID numbers
The bylaws for registration of pet dogs aptly put the onus for their vaccination and training on owners. Pets ‘imprisoned’ in small society-flats should be rescued. Civic authorities must own liability as ‘owner’ of the strays who need identity numbers/chips on collars. There have been instances galore of crowds reacting to or even assaulting staff deputed for corralling stray dogs for sterilisation. They require adequate protection. However, neutering is not enough to contain the dog population that often attacks pedestrians. I have been compelled in the past to rescue a little girl, surrounded by ferocious dogs, crying inconsolably. The elderly too are afraid of going for walks with the strays around. Since the VVIPs are isolated/protected from the strays, they are oblivious of the gravity of the menace. An equitable mix of regular culling and sterilisation of dogs can assure people of their safety.
No anti-rabies vaccines available
The area around the tricity has no facilities for dog sterilisation, especially in Dera Bassi and Zirakpur, where over 1,200 dog-bite incidents took place last year. Anti-rabies vaccine is normally out of stock in sectors 16, 19, 38(W), Chandigarh, Kharar, Mohali and Dera Bassi hospitals and most clinics. Even the orders of the Punjab governor and Chandigarh administrator of July 12 last year, failed to spur the UT bureaucrats to undertake urgent measures to prevent cases of dog bite. The Panchkula MC has taken the lead by establishing a kennel house in Sukhdarshanpur village, near Barwala, which is a welcome step and the Chandigarh administration should request for permissions to use it, irrespective of the territorial areas of governance.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur, Punjab
Why is admin going after pet dogs?
Pet dogs have the right to exercise. Why is the MC going after pets when they have been incompetent in resolving the stray dog menace? In the locality I live in there is a small block with multiple packs of strays which keep breeding even though many of them get killed in accidents or starve to death. There is urgent need to isolate them in shelters and neuter them with a proper adoption programme and care by volunteers. The MC seems to have given up as of now as laws and the present infrastructure is majorly flawed.