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Only nine fines for not cleaning dog poop in five months

The Delhi government’s veterinary department says the sanitation department officials are finding it hard to catch the offenders because most people walk with their pets early in the morning or late at night when the staff members are not in field.

delhi Updated: Sep 04, 2018 00:27 IST
Vibha Sharma
Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
South Delhi Municipal Corporation,SDMC,Dog poop
A woman takes her pet dog for a early morning walk in a park in New Delhi.(HT FILE  PHOTO)

In the five months since the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) announced the imposition of a Rs 500 fine on residents who do not clean faeces of their pet dogs from roads, the civic body levied the penalty only nine times.

Additionally, the SDMC’s directive to owners of dogs living in south Delhi municipal zone to get their pets registered has evoked tepid response. Two years since the registration order, only 1,090 dogs have been registered with the municipality so far.

Even though the SDMC conducted a stray dog census in its municipal zone in 2016 and found the canine population to be 1.86 lakh, it has no estimate of the population of pet dogs. The registration was meant to be pet population count, said an official involved in the project.

In March 2018, the civic agency had directed officials from veterinary and sanitation department to issue on-the-spot fine of Rs 500 on people who do not clean their dog’s faeces. “The direction was aimed to discourage pet owners who make a mess on roads, parks, footpaths leaving them filthy,” said the official, requesting anonymity.

But till date, SDMC has issued only five challans in Najafgarh and four in south Delhi areas. “Most of these challans were issued in the first month of the order,” the official said.

Pet owners, however, said the order cannot be followed till the municipality provides means to dispose of dog faeces. “It is important that the municipality make adequate arrangements such as developing dog parks and poop points before it issues such orders. Also, there are people who have adopted strays and they can’t get them all registered at Rs 500 per dog,” said Rishi Dev, an animal rights’ activist.

A section of residents, however, blamed the civic agency for not putting efforts in forceful implementation of decision.

Suresh Goel, president of Vasant Vihar Welfare Association, said this was “one of the many directions”, which was not enforced. “Though pet owners in our neighbourhood are against the decision, this practice increases the health risks for other people living here as well as the pedestrians. So it would be better if the owners clean up the mess on their own. We informed the residents about the SDMC’s order and even suggested to identify some ‘dog shit corners’ but no response came,” said Goel.

Justifying the reason for few such challans, RBS Tyagi, director, Delhi government’s veterinary department said the sanitation department officials are finding it hard to catch the defaulters. “Most people walk with their pets early in the morning or late at night when the staff members are not in field. We will soon request the SDMC commissioner to arrange for deployment of staff during odd hours as well,” he said.

Animal activists, however, said such a “one-sided direction” would lead to confusion and “misuse” on the part of municipal staff and RWAs (Resident Welfare Association).

“It is important that the civic agency should provide adequate infrastructure such as dog parks before enforcing such norms. Else, it would lead to harassment of pet owners. Also, emphasis should be given on spreading awareness and encouraging environment friendly messages about the relevance of picking up a dog’s faeces,” said Rishi Dev.

“The registration fee is too high as it was increased from ₹50 to ₹500... There are people who have kept many stray dogs as pets. This kind of direction will discourage them to adopt strays,” said Abhinav Srihan, founder of Fauna Police, an NGO for environment and animals

First Published: Sep 04, 2018 00:27 IST