The official gazette of the Government of Goa, issued on 24th November 2022 (Series I No 34) includes a policy for street and pet dog caregiving in the form of guidelines. The new rules are a big step forward in the direction of upholding the rights of stray dogs and their feeders and dog owners in the state of Goa.
A few important points are given below:
- As per the policy, local municipal bodies will now be liable to ensure the availability of food and water to all community dogs in areas under their jurisdiction, in case of the absence of stray dog feeders and caretakers in the said areas.
- All Law enforcement authorities shall ensure that no harassment or hindrance is caused to the person feeding the street dogs at the designated feeding spots.
- The stray dogs have to be sterilized and vaccinated and returned to the same area. Vaccinated and sterilized dogs cannot be removed by the Municipality/Panchayat.
- The policy also states that the keeping of pets is a legal right as per the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and no person or association/society can ban them. And, barking of dogs, and other natural functions of such pets, cannot be grounds for any action against owners.
- Should any RWA seek to intimidate or harass Pet owners or Street Animal feeders, or introduce unlawful bye-laws to do so, then the State/District Registrars, upon receiving complaints and evidence, shall de-register such RWA’s.
This policy is highly progressive and guarantees dogs’ their rights as envisioned in Article 21 of India’s Constitution; and we hope it will inspire other Indian states to follow suit and formulate similarly robust regulations to support the rights of India’s stray dogs and pet dogs.