PUNE: In a huge relief to dog owners, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has issued a circular to all ward offices clarifying that a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the housing societies will not be mandatory anymore for issuance of licences to those keeping pets.

“We had received a complaint that some ward offices were asking for such certificates. Since, there is no legal provision for this, a circular to this effect was issues,” said S T Pardeshi, medical officer of health (MoH) of PMC.

Meher Mathrani, head of Animal Legal Enforcement and Rescue Team (ALERT), said the forms clearly state that the documents needed for the licence include a vaccination certificate and a proof of residence. “However, many ward offices still ask owners to produce an NOC from the housing societies,” Mathrani added.

“We used to live in an apartment complex in Bibwewadi. When we got a dog, we wanted to get a licence. However, when we approached the ward office, we were asked to get an NOC from the housing society. When I asked for the document which makes an NOC compulsory for issuance of licence, the committee members refused to issue it,” said a dog-lover who didn’t wish to be named. They instead suggested us to get rid of the dog, she added.

“Initially, my landlord did not have any problems with the dog. But after society members urged him not to allow a pet on the premises, he also started objecting. Finally, we were left with no other option but to move to another society,” she said.

“This is a clear violation of the law. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has repeatedly clarified that housing societies cannot restrict people from owning pets,” Mathrani said, adding that the demand for such NOCs was just one of the arbitrary provisions that officials at the ward office come up with before issuing licences to dog owners.

Aletha Tavares, who had provided a home for a dog off the streets, did not have too many problems in obtaining a licence. But, when she took in a second stray, the ward officials raised objections. “They told me how can you have two dogs in a single apartment. When I asked them to show me the rule that said so, they simply denied me the licence for the second dog,” she said, adding that she didn’t face such issues while she was staying in Mumbai.

“Although it is mandatory by law, a small fraction of dog owners bother to get licenses. If the process was not made so complicated, more people would do so,” Mathrani said

Source: TNN | Feb 26, 2015