What you should know about walking your dog or going to the vet during the pandemic.
It is easy to forget about the plight of animals when we are in the midst of a pandemic. Many pet parents are now finding it hard to provide adequate exercise for their pets. There have been examples of the police stopping pet owners transporting their dogs and other pets to the veterinary clinic due to a medical emergency. This arbitrary stopping puts many animals at great risk.
In Mumbai, the High Court has directed the government to ensure that ambulances or private vehicles ferrying pets to the veterinary clinic are not stopped during the pandemic. It also directed the state to clarify that residents can take their dogs/pets out for regular walks during this period.
The High Court judgement of one state is by law applicable to all states in the Union of India. Only another High Court or the Supreme Court of India can set it aside.
What to do if you are stopped with your pet
Animal rights activist Vineeta Tandon was the first to raise this issue. There were several reports of police stopping pet owners on roads arbitrarily. Police stations reportedly instructed building societies to stop dog walkers. There have also been instances of police stopping pet owners trying to take their pets for emergency healthcare needs.
The Central Animal Welfare Board asked the State of Maharashtra to allow concessions for pet exercise and medical treatment. One can also take their pet out for necessary exercise within the complex, and no RWA can prohibit this.
We have provided a layman’s understanding of this issue. If you face harassment from police or building societies, take guidance from a recent High Court Judgement on May 8.
If you are stopped on the road, it is well within your right to cite the court judgement in Maharashtra and explain by example. A well-reasoned argument is important for the health and safety of your pet as well.
Further pandemic-related reading
Our justice system has taken a clear stand on the issue of caring for your pets during a pandemic. It is important to be aware of this information and do your part in educating others around you.
You may download the order document here if you would like to better understand the legalities of stray dog rights. VOSD has a huge repository of information regarding this.
You can help other dogs too
Read about the work we do at VOSD and take part in our campaigns to help feed stray dogs during the Covid19 crisis.