Supertech Livingston RWA legislates pet rules bypassing AWBI guidelines
The new do's and don'ts for pet owners released by the RWA Of Supertech Livingston, a residential society in Crossings Republik, bypasses the Animal Welfare Board of India's guidelines for keeping pet dogs in societies.
The rules, which were published in the society magazine, are being branded objectionable and absurd by numerous Crossings Republik residents.
These rules had already drawn flak from animal lovers, activists and residents when they were proposed by the RWA via social network platforms in January this year. Despite objections, the RWA went ahead with the guidelines. The rules were proposed following an incident in which five residents of Supertech Livingston barged into a woman's house and threatened her after her dog allegedly scratched a child.
Many of the rules have received a backlash from people, who are challenging the RWA's competency to enforce nonsensical rules in the first place, when it is meant as a welfare body for residents, and not as a governing machinery.
Some of the absurd rules enlisted are:
1. If a new family with a pet dog or any other animal is seeking to rent out a flat in the society, they should seek permission from the neighbours before they can move in
2. It will be mandatory to use muzzles for the pets before stepping out of the flats
3. Dogs should maintain a distance of three meters from kids while venturing through the society and dog owners should use the service lift, instead of the main lift in order to keep the pets away from kids.
These rules, along with some others have stirred up the wrath of many pet owners in the society and the township at large.
Speaking to City Spidey, Pooja Srivastava, a resident of Ajnara Gen X, another residential society in Crossings Republik and an animal rights activist who had raised the issue on social media, declared the rules as completely nonsensical and hurtful.
"I cannot believe these people had the nerve to go ahead with these rules and publish them in the society's magazine," said Srivastava. "They are encroaching upon people's private space and are violating their right to live by choice. The first four rules are completely absurd. If I want to keep a pet with me and I also want to rent a flat in the society, how can my neighbour decide that for me? Why would I have to ask anyone for their permission? If this continues, tomorrow they will stop people from having kids because they cry and make noise. If I have a tenant who keeps a pet or I am a pet owner myself, no law in India prohibits anyone to keep a dog or a cat as a pet under any circumstances. It is my choice and my right."
The list of dos and don'ts are also in complete violation of the guidelines prescribed by AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. As per the rules released by the society, Rs 500 will be charged from the pet owner for non-compliance of the set rules or at a time of any offence, which is prohibited under the PCA Act of 1960, which states that 'society owners can only 'request' pet owners to use scoopers to dispose off fecal matter of the pet animal and cannot impose any penalty on them as a result of the same'.
Speaking to City Spidey, Sumedha Iyer, District President, People for Animals (PFA), said, "We are in the process of lodging an FIR against the RWA as they have gone against the Government of India's directives. We will also write to the Human Rights Commission of India because they are violating people's human rights."
The rule about muzzling the dog each time it leaves the house is scientifically impossible because it acts as a deterrent in the excretory cycle of the animal and if the dog cannot sniff, it cannot defecate. This has also been prohibited under PCA Act 1960.
The RWA has also come up with a rule asking pet owners to get their dogs registered before keeping them in the society which is impossible because there is no organisation/body that officially registers dogs in India, so this is a violation of 'Right to Freedom'.
Residents against the new rules said the UP Apartment Act mentions that pet owners have the right and liberty to use any lift in the society along with their pets and they cannot be stopped from using the said services by any other resident. "And if they expect someone to measure at all times the distance between a pet and a kid nearby is three meters or not, they should use a measuring tape themselves and do it," said a resident.
Pet owners of other nearby societies also expressed fear that more and more societies will be copying from the RWA of Supertech Livingston and cause unnecessary trouble. "We are already under heavy fire for our love for pets. We have already stopped taking our pets to society parks and have to take them to other open space outside the society to get them some activity. Such rules will worsen the situation," said a Crossings Republik resident.
However, speaking with City Spidey, the RWA of Supertech Livingston declared the rules as half baked and yet to be finalised. "We are very liberal and tolerant people and these rules have only been laid out to garner people's opinion about them and to understand as to what they like and what they don't. These rules are in the drafting phase and nothing has been formally decided as yet," said Sudhir Sinha, president of the RWA. This is the same response he had come up with when the rules were proposed in January.
However, pet lovers are calling Sinha out on his statement. "Proposed rules become official once they are published. Why did they publish it if it was not ready?" asked Pooja Shrivastava.
On being asked how published rules can be considered half baked or proposed, Sinha said the RWA had to go ahead with the publishing under pressure from residents of the society. He said the formation of a new AOA body was underway and the entire process will be reconsidered. “There is a mob mentality in some residents who create unnecessary pressure against pet owners. Lack of awareness about pets and animals among residents is the main source of such trouble,” Sinha added.