New Delhi: Adoption of rescue animals is suffering due to landlords turning away pet owners in Delhi-NCR, say animal welfare workers.
The situation remains bleak for animal lovers despite the Animal Welfare Board of India having passed by-laws against such treatment as housing societies continue to impose unreasonable restrictions on pet owners, some going so far as to outright ban them.
“It is not sound to ban pet dogs from the society. It is a person’s right to show compassion towards animals as per Article 51a(g) of the Indian constitution. However, the municipality can make laws for better administration pertaining to pet and street dogs,” says animal welfare advocate Aavritee Naithani.
She confirms that pet owners face problems while finding a new home because pets are seen as a liability and a source of nuisance.
She has been personally approached numerous times by people who are intimidated into abandoning their pet by landlords and RWAs.
“Students who come from other states to study in Delhi and are living as paying guests are afraid to foster a sick and injured animal with constant fear that the landlord will ask them to leave,” she says, adding that such mistreatment kills the compassion and zeal to help a needy animal in the future.
“With India’s stray dog population already ranging in the millions, we can’t afford to discourage people from adopting dogs,” says Dhanu Verma, parent to three dogs and an animal shelter volunteer.
NGOs and animal rights activists are working to create a reciprocal reaction to the ostracizing actions, by carving out space for needy animals.
“We have people interact with the animals. Proximity to these beautiful creatures and to the problems they face naturally gives rise to compassion,” he adds.
With an aim to increase adoption rates, Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC) recently organised a ‘dogathon’, for which it had 48 volunteers who took 48 shelter dogs for a long walk and ensured they get some fresh air, love, and attention they deserve.
“We also had an event with cats at Puppychino café where people can bring their own cat and enjoy brunch with them,” says Kirtika Dua, a spokesperson for SGACC.
The centre advocates adopting pets as a measure to control the stray dog population and curb cruel breeding practices. The adoption drives result in as many as 50 animals being adopted in a month, including dogs, cats, and rabbits.