Do you have a dog? Or a cat? If so, have you registered your pet? Most likely not.
Ahmedabad is a city with a teeming population of over six million people and is also home to thousands of pets. Surprisingly, it is hard to find any pet that is registered here with the authorities. And why would it be, when the municipal corporation is unable to implement the law? Most people don’t even know that such a law exists.
The Stray Animals Control Policy 2023 mandates compulsory registration and licence for animals including cows, water buffaloes, elephants, horses, sheep, goat and pigs, but pet dogs and cats are not covered in the ambit. The policy, introduced in Ahmedabad in July, is now applicable across the state.
The scenario is different compared to cities like Mumbai where the civic authorities can confiscate an unregistered dog or cat as well.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities said they often got calls about dog bites by pet dogs or incessant barking by dogs in residential areas. In 2021, a 20-year-old girl had sustained 27 bites after a Siberian husky slipped away from its owner during morning walk.
Experts said the Gujarat Provincial Municipal Corporation (GPMC) Act had the provision of mandatory registration of pets, but for decades the rules had not been followed. Along with the licence to keep the dogs, the pet parents also needed to furnish a certificate of vaccination and regular health checkups. These are completely ignored in the city.
“AMC may soon get the exact number of cattle in the city, but it would not be the case for pet dogs or cats. It could be because the AMC departments don’t have adequate staff to carry out the inspection and implement the rules,” said an official of the Cattle Nuisance Control Department (CNCD) of AMC on condition of anonymity.
Senior officials, however, said that the rule could be on the anvil soon. “In a matter of next one year, registration of the pets will be made compulsory,” said a senior AMC official.
Experts said there was a need for registration as some of the dog breeds were considered relatively dangerous.
They also said dog breeds like American pitbull, Tibetan mastiff, Siberian husky, hounds, etc. should have muzzles.