An arbitrary order of not allowing dogs into the society's park by AOA of Shipra Sun City phase I in Indirapuram is drawing a flak from the pet lovers of the society.
The AOA has placed a board outside the park stating that dogs are not allowed to roam inside the park premises. “This decision came into existence after taking consideration the rising incidents of attacks by dogs inside the park,” said an AOA official.
However, the decision of the AOA violates the guidelines of Animal Welfare Board of India and a Delhi High Court order, 2014.
“The number of people keeping dogs as pets is increasing every year. Many dog-owners live in apartments, where there is no private space for their dogs to exercise. The entry of dogs in parks will not be restricted … if the dogs are leashed and are walking along with their owner,” states the order.
Besides, AWBI has issued an order in November 2016, regarding the boards which mention the ban of entry of dogs/pets in the parks. All current boards, which say "Dogs/pets are prohibited in the park" or other similar boards ought to be removed as per the order.
Sumedha Iyer, president of People For Animals, a nodal body appointed to look after stray animals in Ghaziabad, said that she had a dialogue with the AOA and they have asked for a few days of time. "If they don't get the board removed, we will deal with them legally, she added.
City Spidey had a conversation with Anurag Ranjan, media coordinator of the AOA. Ranjan admitted that the board was placed by them. When asked whether the AOA went through AWB notifications or High Court order before placing it, Ranjan said that they didn't consider the legal. "We simply went after the fact of rising dog bite incidents and public sentiments of banning them in the park," he added.
However, Ranjan said that he will check the legal aspects and would remove the board if it is found against the law.
While the order is illegal, there are many residents affected by dog bites who are of the opinion that banning of dogs is beneficial. "In just two months we have seen 40-50 cases of dog bites. About 15 days ago, a girl was attacked and severely bitten by a pet dog in the society park. We fear such incidents. If kids cannot play in the parks due to the threat of dogs, then its justified to ban them (dogs)," said Vishal Srivastava, a resident of the society.
"Also, they litter so much that it becomes unbearable for the residents to walk in parks," Srivastava added.
Meanwhile, pet lovers condemned the act of AOA. “AOA can't do moral policing. If any dog bite has occurred and any nuisance is created by pets and strays, then it is subject for the law. Municipality and police will investigate. If the dog is ferocious, the municipality will take it for medical treatment," said a resident on condition of anonymity
"While dog bites always become a point of outrage, nobody cares to investigate why did the dog bite? There are instances where dogs bite, when they are triggered by the passers-by, but the blame goes only on the dogs. So, the cause should also be investigated," she further remarked.