Citizens and responsible pet parents have no problem whatsoever with dogs being compulsorily licensed, pet owners mandatorily picking up excrement and fined if the rules are followed. What we do have a problem with is the rule that caps the number of pets, with one dog per apartment, a list of approved breeds and the possible impounding of unlicensed animals. What does this have to do with the licensing process, exactly?

These bye-laws were put forth first as guidelines back in 2013, then again in 2017. It was unceremoniously rejected by the Animal Welfare Board of India and the public outcry. How the BBMP has mustered the courage to propagate the same laws for the third time, and even get them notified, is a total mystery.

Second, pet licensing laws should be restricted to just that. Unfortunately, this move goes well beyond, stomping on citizens’ constitutional right in the bargain. 

Third, not satisfied with merely being unconstitutional, the BBMP also fearlessly treads on the hallowed grounds of  the Supreme Court, which in its wisdom has specifically instructed state and local bodies not to legislate on anything which is connected with the subject of dogs or  prevention of cruelty .

Fourth, by insisting that pet owners give up the second dog, they are propagating and promulgating animal cruelty, as these dogs have lived perfectly happy and healthy in homes and will now be displaced, abandoned or relocated to streets or shelters, distressing both dog and owner.

Fifth, a brave BBMP now steps into the area of the IPC; actually pushing owners into giving up a member of his family, which could leads to the illegal abandonment of dogs, is nothing but criminal intimidation  – also causing them immeasurable hardship and heartache. Yet they choose to make this arbitrary and entirely impractical bye-law for no other reason, than that the second dog MAY disturb a neighbor! 

By prescribing a list of appropriate breeds, (clearly cut-and-paste it from Singapore Housing Board) the BBMP makes itself a complete laughing stock by suggesting BBMP-approved breeds like Affenpinscher, Chinese Crested terrier and several other unpronounceable and exotic ones!  No mention is made of the most magnificent dog breed known to Bangalore – the Indie or Desi Dog. Even other standard breeds that exist in most of the city, namely spaniels, labradors, retrievers and beagles, are completely missing.  I googled ‘Affenpinscher’ and was unable to find a single breeder from whom I can buy my BBMP-approved apartment dog! While this may seem like a laugh, the fact that the BBMP chooses to prescribe any breed except the Indy, and any process except #AdoptDontShop reeks of indifference and contempt to animals.

Astoundingly, the BBMP will not take an interest in ABC/Street Dog Sterilisation program leaving street dogs and puppies to proliferate, be abused, run over and sometimes harm human beings.  BBMP seems oblivious SC’s directions, which is to vaccinate and sterilize street dogs. Instead it insists on letting the dogs inside our homes be points of contention. 

Rampant illegal bleeding produces litter after litter of puppies through illegal backyard breeders and sickly, abused mother dogs. The BBMP chooses neither to save them nor stop the practice of commercial exploitation. Yet all they seem to want to, yes, enter our homes!

In conclusion,  the BBMP is guilty of perhaps breaking laws on several fronts and has shown a lack of empathy, nay, the actual exercise of cruelty. The glaring chasm is there to see, and it is about time the BBMP Health Department picks up its feet and move towards being a pro-city, pro-citizen, pro-canine unit in #Compassionate Bangalore,  rather than the cruel, punitive, dismissive and uncaring government body that it has chosen to project itself to be.