Pet peeve: High fee and no online facility to register dogs in Thane
Merely 50 per cent of the people who have pet dogs in Thane have registered themselves with the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).
In 2007, the TMC made it mandatory to register all pets.
More than 3,000 dogs kept as pets across the city are not licensed, as per the veterinary department of the corporation.
Most dog owners are either unaware of the process or are not ready to register the dog by paying the fees, the department said.
Dog owners have blamed the high fee structure and the lack of online registration for the dwindling figures.
The corporation charges Rs400 for getting a licence for pet dogs, which needs to be renewed every year in April.
An official from the department said, “There are around 7,000 pet dogs across the city, out of which, we have registered 3,900 pets. More than 3,000 pets are still unregistered. It is mandatory not only to get the pets registered with us, but also to renew the registration every year. Most pet owners register just once and do not renew the licence. In the last few years, the trend of housing cats of different international breeds has increased. However, none of the cat owners have registered them.”
More than 3,000 dog owners had registered their pets before 2016 when the fee was Rs100 and a fine of Rs20 a month if registration was not renewed after April. The corporation increased the registration fee to Rs400 and the fine to Rs100, which proved as a deterrent for many.
The official added, “We also collect a deposit of Rs2,000. The deposit of people who do not renew the licence is seized. The registration process is simple. People only have to get their address and signature proof along with the dog’s vaccination chart. The corporation gives them a badge which should be fitted on the dog’s collar. In case there is any complaint of the dog or the documents are not in place, we check the dog. Most owners pay thousands for a pet but are not ready to pay Rs400 for a licence.”
People who are residing in the city with their pet for more than three months will have to get the licence. The veterinary department expressed that people are not aware of the law, or in most cases, most pet owners are also from slums, lower middle class families or residing in chawls and are unwilling to shell out the registration fee every year.
In most cases, people who have ten dogs will get only two to three dogs registered. “Whenever we get complaints of any dogs from the neighbours, we go and check the dog and serve a notice in case the dogs are not registered with us. At present there is no fine, however, we can seize the dogs that create a nuisance to their neighbours,” said the official.
The TMC also sends notices to the housing societies asking dog owners to get themselves registered.
The licensing will keep a check on zoonotic disease such as rabies, distemper or leptospirosis. “We can ensure every year that the dogs are vaccinated. More than five to six dogs are abandoned every day, we do not have space to keep these dogs and have to depend on NGOs to take care of them till they are adopted. Licensing will help prevent such abandonment as we can get details of the owner and return the dog,” the officer said.
The activists claim that the high registration fees and deposit money and the lack of online registration are reasons for owners failing to register their pets.
Aditi Nair, founder of Pet Owners and Animal Lovers (PAL), said, “The registration fees and the deposit of TMC is high. People who adopt old dogs, which are around 10 years old, have to pay the deposit along with fees for all the 10 years of the dog’s life. This becomes a hefty amount. Many cannot afford this. The charge imposed by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is comparatively less.”
Nair added that the registration process for the BMC is also online, thus making it simple for the owners to register.
Dog owners want a simplified process of registration.
Rahul Bhagat, 35, a resident of Vedant complex, who has a four-month-old Siberian Husky, said, “Earlier, registration was done through veterinary doctors. The process was simple and we did not have to go to the corporation. I had registered my earlier dog through my vet. I have not yet registered the new dog. Online registration could have been easy for us.”
The TMC official said that registration through vet was discontinued by the government to prevent malpractices in the process.
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