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Do RWAs have a Legal Right to debar Residents with Pets from living in their locality?

May,21,2017:

Some RWAs have come up with their own self coined rules and regulations, and even impose fines if these are violated.

RWAs banning Pets
RWAs banning Pets                             Pic by hindustantimes.com

Mandakini Vasudevan, who lives in Whitefield, Bengaluru, took her dogs for a stroll on the lawn of her apartment complex,  was served an eviction notice for walking her pet Labradors on the lawns & “other utility spaces”.

Now she has to find her pets & herself a new home.

Old neighborhoods/fancy gated communities – the modern India seems to be turning increasingly pet-hostile. Though there are no law that ban people from having pets, & RWAs have no authority to throw out people with pet animals, the reality is quite different.

People with pets are often denied home or are forced to vacate. RWAs come up with their own rules & regulations, & impose fines their violation.

Supertech Livingstone apartments in Ghaziabad came out with a set of rules for pet owners in April 2017 any new family with a pet dog or any other animal seeking to rent a flat in the society had to seek permission from the neighbors before they move in.

Pets had to be muzzled when they stepped out of their homes & maintain a distance of at least 3 metres from kids while being walked in the premises. Dog owners were also asked to make use of the service lift instead of the main lift. However, the society rolled back these rules in May this year after getting flak for the discriminatory restrictions.

Many times pet owners are forced to look for new homes. Gurugram-based Alka Sobti had to move out of an apartment complex last year after her dog barked in the common area.”My little 1 was on a leash & just barked at a group of children who were playing there, people complained to my landlord & I was asked to either abandon my dogs or vacate the apartment,” says Alka Sobti. “I obviously chose my dogs & moved.”

But some desperate owners simply abandon their innocent companions. Many complexes in Bengaluru do not allow people to keep pets.

Families who’ve been forced to move from such apartments have come & left their dogs at our shelter & I would say those pets are the lucky ones as many are often abandoned on the streets,” says Chinthana Gopinath, volunteer, Compassion Unlimited Plus Action.

Pooja Srivastava says she had rented out her flat in Sahibabad in 2015 to a young woman & her father, who had a pet dog.”3 months after moving in she abandoned her dog unable to bear constant hostility of her neighbors,” says Srivastava.

RWAs have absolutely no legal right to make such rules.”No one can ask a tenant with pets to relocate or ban people from having a pet,” says M. Ravikumar, secretary of Animal Welfare Board of India.

The organisation had issued a circular stating that RWAs and owners’ associations “can’t legally introduce any sort of ban on the keeping of pet dogs”. Nor they can ban pets from using gardens, lifts or parks.

Pet owners are also asked to show responsible ownership by ensuring their pets are vaccinated, putting them on a leash in public spaces says Chinny Krishna, co-founder of Blue Cross of India.

Pet lovers are also taking it upon themselves to help each other out. “Pet Friendly Houses For Rent”, a Facebook group, which seeks to connect pet owners with those people who’re willing to open their doors to their furry little friends.

 

With inputs from TOI.

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