Posted on 13th Feb, 2015: It was not long ago when Delhi petitioner Anupam Tripathi strived to gain access for dogs in public parks of Delhi. Although the petition did not garner much favour it brought to light a major issue that of India still not waking up to being a pet-friendly nation. The civic amenities and public life in our towns and cities don’t exactly sympathise with the needs of animals and pet parents.
A recent incident in Pune has stirred a fury amongst the animal lover world. Ironically, the laughter society near the Balgandharv ground has banned dogs from entering their premises. Their complaint was formalized with the support of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
Since 2009, every Sunday a dog gathering with pet owners for an hour was held at the park which was turned into a Nani Nani Udyaan about 3 years ago. As told to Pune Mirror, the conductor of the Dog Park, Himanshu Maratkar was upset that the PMC watchman did not allow the dogs to enter the park since a few weeks. Even after the ground was rebuilt as the Nana Nani Park, no one had objected to dogs being there.
It was only on inquiry with the PMC that they realized a ban had been imposed owing to a complaint from the members of the Chaitanya Hasya (a laughter club) started only a few months ago. The PMC have credited the ban to the by- laws of the park which prohibit animals from entering the park. In defence to the same, a representative of the Animal Welfare Board of India has asserted that there is no such rule that bans animals from visiting public parks. The only requisite being pet owners clear up any mess that their pooches may create and that may hamper the cleanliness of the park.
Some officials of the PMC have requested to take a second look at the by-laws and there seems to be confusion over the same amongst them. The laughter club members are firm on their stand that dogs create a mess in the park and affect the activities of others around. In response to which regulars like Maratkar have denied such claims and said that they make sure they clean the area that they have used.
In this tussle between pet owners and laughter club members, the poor animals surely seem to be at the receiving end of the battle. Animal lovers believe that it is absolutely cruel to restrict dogs from the natural environment which are in fact very few in a city. The PMC is trying to appease one party at the cost of the other and it will be interesting to see where this tiff goes. Hope it ends in all peace for our furry friends.