Not without my dog: Pet ban at Cubbon Park draws flak

Published on Jun 28, 2022 01:52 PM IST

Pet parents in the city raise their voice against a proposed pet ban at the park, calling it “unfair”

Cubbon Park has been a popular hang out zone for both dogs and their hoomans to socialise
Cubbon Park has been a popular hang out zone for both dogs and their hoomans to socialise
ByAayushi Parekh

Pet parents in the city raise their voice against a proposed pet ban at the park, calling it “unfair”

Cubbon Park, a popular spot in the city, has been a safe haven for dogs and their owners for years now. But this may not be the case for long. On Saturday, the Horticulture Department of Karnataka mulled over imposing a ban on pets in the park, based on several complaints of violations of guidelines for dogs.

Balakrishna HT, deputy director of the department, says,“For the last six months, we have received complaints from walkers about how littered the park is with dog poop. A lot of pet owners don’t even leash their dogs when taking them on a walk. Most walkers in the park are senior citizens, who are scared of dogs. Some have even complained about the dire situation of the plants, as dogs poop and walk on them. We have already set up guidelines in the park. Even if 70% of pet parents follow the rules, the rest 30% are irresponsible.” The final decision, he says, will be taken in the next meeting, the date for which hasn’t been decided yet. Apart from the Horticulture Department, other attendees in the meeting will include police commissioner of Bengaluru, officials from Cubbon Park and Lalbagh Botanical Garden, and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner. If the proposal is approved in the meeting, the ban will be put in place from July 1.

The possibility of the ban has not been well-received by pet parents, who feel that the entire community cannot be made to suffer because of a few irresponsible people. An online petition against the ban has already amassed around 10,000 signatures, with support on social media from celebs as well, including actor Aindrita Ray.

Activists and city residents have since worked hard to raise voice against the ban. Priya Chetty Rajagopal, an animal rights activist and trustee of the CJ Memorial Trust, talks about the efforts put in, “We have been hard at work since we heard the news. I’ve made calls to the director and secretary of the department. Eighteen volunteers visited Cubbon Park on Sunday and covered the park entrances and areas to counsel and monitor the pet parents who were not following rules. We made sure that poop bags and scoops were available for those who couldn’t go and buy them. We had even set up a Wall of Shame last year! There are so many posters and notices at the park entrances. How much more proactively can we work?”

Thanmaya BP, a pet parent and an entrepreneur, feels the ban is “totally unfair”. “A larger community is being punished for the delinquency of a few. There are people urinating, spitting or throwing trash in the park. There has to be proper enforcement to keep the park clean. The solution is to have marshals patrol the park and fine people who don’t follow the rules,” he says.

The ban, according to pet owners, will have consequences for their doggos’ social life. “This ban is going to have a long-term impact. Dogs won’t get to socialise with other dogs. I also believe that most walkers will miss not having dogs around,” says Shruthi Bopaiah, marketing professional and pet parent in the city.

A few citizens, who support the ban, took to Twitter to express their views. One tweet stated, “Finally. Hard to walk anywhere in Cubbon Park without stepping on dog poop. Sundays are the worst — there’s no enforcement of the leash-free zones.” Another user wrote, “This needs to be two-way. Pets should be allowed but the pet parents should be penalised for not following basic rules.”

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