Housing Societies, especially in India, are rarely pet friendly. Some residents and association members who are wary of pets and annoyed at their shenanigans often get into arguments with residents who own pets.
However, these arguments and disagreements can easily be avoided if the management and the residents simply follow a handful of pet rules and laws.
What does the law say when it comes to pets?
To ensure that domestic pets such as dogs and cats are treated in a just and kind manner, the Animal Welfare Board of India has passed pet-favourable laws. The pet-owning residents and the management of housing societies must be aware of these laws.
Pet laws and rights every pet owner should know
Management cannot ban pets
According to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – Section 9(k), Housing Societies cannot ban pets even if the majority of the residents voted against allowing them. The law asks citizens to be compassionate towards all living creatures.
Discrimination a no-no
Housing Societies cannot ban, and discriminate against pets based on their size, colour, or breed. Even if a dog barks incessantly, the management cannot ban that pet.
Prohibiting pets from using common facilities
The management of a society cannot ban pets from using facilities such as parks, lifts or impose penalties or levy special charges for using the facilities.
Enforcing leash rules
Though the law advises pet owners to leash their pets while in public places, the management cannot make it a rule that the pet owner leash their pets all the time.
Animal Cruelty is punishable
Housing Societies cannot create laws against harassing pets. Any kind of animal cruelty is a punishable offence according to Section 428 and 429 of IPC ( Indian Penal Code).
Feeding cannot be banned
The management cannot ban residents from feeding stray dogs and cats roaming in their locality.
How can the management make their societies pet-friendly?
Management should be careful about not violating any pet rules, but at the same time should have proper guidelines in place to ensure the welfare of both the residents and the pets.
To maintain peace and to ensure that the society operates smoothly, the below guidelines can come in handy.
Though this cannot be strictly imposed, you can create a ‘pet-time’ and suggest the residents use that time to walk their pets in the parks, gardens, and the society’s grounds.
Request vaccination records
To avoid problems in the future, the association can request pet owners to submit their pet’s sterilisation and vaccination records.
Allot a spot for the pets to defaecate
Outside the premises of your society, create a spot for the pets to go. Also, request/advise the owners to clean the spot.
Pets should not be on their own
Make it a strict rule that owners must always accompany their pets and not let them roam alone to ensure the safety of both the pets and residents.
Allocate spots for feeding
Designate a spot and mark them exclusively for feeding stray dogs and cats. Ensure that these spots are not close to play and residential areas and preferably outside the society.
Pet owners’ responsibilities
Pet owners must shoulder the responsibility of their pets and train, watch and take care of them accordingly to ensure the welfare of their pets and the peace of their community.
The below tips can be useful while raising pets in a housing society.
Provide proper training to your pet
Train your pet on how to behave socially in public and importantly, train it to respond to commands. This will prevent the pet from behaving untowardly in the common areas of the society.
Acquaint your pet with the society surroundings
A society is home to several people and families and your pet will see unfamiliar faces often. Ensure that your pet is familiar with the building so that it doesn’t harm strangers or disturb other residents.
Ensure that your pet is vaccinated in a timely manner and when your society’s management requests for certificates or records, do not hesitate to submit a copy of it.
Respect society rules
Before moving into a new society, take time to read the society by-laws. Look up pet rules if you own one and ensure that you follow those roles to a T.
Clean after your pet
Pets are just like kids and they should be potty trained as well. It is also important that the owners clean after their pets, should they have an accident inside their premises of the society. Similarly, residents who are feeding strays should clean the leftovers to avoid mess.
Accompany your pet always
Your pet might be well trained, well familiar with the premises, and super friendly with other residents, but do not leave your pet to wander alone ever. Leash your pet when you are out to ensure everyone’s safety. Also, ensure that your pet does not exhibit any aggressive behaviour while encountering strays.
Keep your pet engaged
Ensure that your pet gets enough exercise and playtime so that it is not hyperactive. If your pet is home alone for a while, keep plenty of food, water, and toys so that it doesn’t disturb others.
The aforementioned tips can do wonders to your society and little effort coupled with a cooperative attitude will make the pet owners, residents, and of course our furry pals happy.
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