Walking is an enthralling and therapeutic activity for both humans and dogs. It’s undoubtedly the most harmonious time of the day when dogs and their owners get to strengthen their emotional bond while exploring nature.

However, not all walks end up being positive, when owners and their dogs are denied entry into public spaces such as parks, things take a very depressing turn. People are forced to fight for something as innocuous as the right to walk their furry pets.

The question is are people allowed to walk their dogs in parks in India? Absolutely yes.

According to Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) norms, pet owners can certainly exercise their right to walk their dog in public parks, albeit they need to take into consideration the following directives:

  • An adult should walk the dogs: An adult, who is familiar with the dog’s temperament, routine and tendencies, should be the one walking the dog. This is to ensure the safety of all involved.
  • Walkers must scoop the poop – Dog walkers must carry poop bags and pick up their dog’s feces and bin it; or dispose of the refuse in a lone corner and cover it with dry leaves to aid decomposition.
  • Dogs should be kept on a leash – Walkers must always keep the dogs on a leash, which is no longer than 6 feet. Walkers should also endeavour to keep dogs close to their person so that they can exert greater control during walks. This is to avert accidents and untoward incidents of other sorts.
  • Watch out for the ‘no dogs allowed’ signs – Parks are not allowed to put up animal prohibition signs at entrances. They are, however, authorised to allow dogs inside only at specific times. So, be sure to get acquainted with their rules and act in accordance.

To reiterate, the AWBI guidelines are very clear with respect to owners’ rights to walk their pets in parks. What is more, denying dogs necessary exercise is deemed illegal. However, the lay public and resident welfare associations are not aware of these rules, they might try to stop you from walking your dog.

The best solution for this situation would be to always carry a copy of the AWBI circular (in print or on your phone). It will come in handy while you explain to them that you are well within your rights to walk your dog; aggrieved park owners and housing societies can write to AWBI to contest their mandate.

If the harassment continues, pet parents can file a police complaint and submit the AWBI circular along with it.

Here’s a copy of the AWBI circular:

We hope your walks with your dogs always remain happy and invigorating but if any negative scenarios do arise, it’s good to know your rights and that the law is on your side.