Complicated Registration Process Discourages Pet Owners From Applying For Licenses
Even as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) makes it mandatory for pet owners to have a pet license, most are discouraged from applying for it because of the complicated process and citizen-unfriendly approach, say pet owners. The result — a vast majority of pets in the city are as yet unregistered.
Sarika Patil, a Wanowrie resident, had always wanted a dog. Before bringing the puppy home, however, she says she called the PMC to find out how to get a dog licence. She was told that she would have to take the puppy to the office along with its pedigree certificate, its health and vaccination reports, her identity proof, residence proof, photographs of the dog and other documents. The process sounded too long and complicated for Patil and she decided to not to get a pet.
According to the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act of 1949, however, the only documents needed for pet registration are complete and updated vaccination records of the pet along with the pet’s registration form. “Pet owners only need to prove that their dogs have been vaccinated regularly. Asking for a picture of the dog is a harmless request and should not be too difficult for pet owners. However, asking for so many documents is unnecessary and the PMC officials are just being whimsical and difficult when making such demands,” says Manoj Oswal, animal welfare officer at the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Gayatri Adarsh is a fitness consultant living in Kondhwa and owns 12 dogs. She had filled in forms for all the dogs but when she took the forms to the local ward office, she was told she couldn’t register so many dogs and some of them would have to be given away. “The PMC officials don’t know anything about animals. They don’t know the breeds, or the diseases that can affect them. I am perfectly capable of keeping 12 dogs or as many dogs as I want and unless they can prove that the dogs are not being kept well, they cannot tell me to give them away,” says a distraught Adarsh.
“We had a pet licence for our seven-year-old dog, which was revoked by the PMC when neighbours complained about our dog. The neighbours filed a suit against us saying our dog had jumped on them. We won the case and proved that the accusations were false but the PMC still refused to restore the licence,” said Dilip Sural who lives near Pune University.
Dr Somnath Pardeshi, medical officer at PMC, said, “If complaints about a pet come in, we can confiscate the pet if the owner doesn’t have a licence. A licence also helps if a pet is missing, since it makes it easier to establish ownership,” he said.
According to Pardeshi, the licensing department for pets at PMC is burdened by requests for licences as the number of pets has increased substantially in the past few years. “However, all you need is the form, vaccination reports for the dog and the registration fees, which depends on how old the dog is,” he said.