Hyderabad pet lovers want entry rights for dogs in GHMC parks

During the colonial era, the Britishers disdainfully used signboards that read, "Indians and dogs are not allowed."

Hyderabad pet lovers

HYDERABAD: During the colonial era, the Britishers disdainfully used signboards that read, "Indians and dogs are not allowed." Gone are the days and the inhumane treatment of Indians. Cut to the present day, pet dogs continue to be discriminated against, especially in public places. The current trend shows signboards screaming, "Dogs are not allowed."

Though our constitution ensures compassion for all humans and other living creatures, the Animal Welfare Board of India has set guidelines that clearly state that the entry of pets into public spaces, lifts and parks is unlawful.

Hyderabad hosts only one official dog park while the pet animals are denied an entry into other major parks in the city. Though the pet dogs are safe, immunized and registered the pet owners cannot take them for a fresh, breezy evening walk. GHMC parks have banned the entry of pet animals but stray dogs, which are comparatively dangerous, roam freely anywhere and everywhere in the city.

These new rules did not seem to go well with the pet owners and pet lovers of Hyderabad. An online petition was initiated by a youngster from Hyderabad requesting people to sign and voice their opinions to the Commissioner of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). The petition, seeking entry for pet dogs inside the parks, will be submitted to the GHMC.

Commenting on the rules, Sasha Monterio, an animal activist of Hyderabad, said, "not everyone is privileged to have big gardens for their dogs, so they depend on general parks in the city to let their dogs run around and play." A dog requires a certain amount of physical activity and hence a single dog park for the whole city is not sufficient, she feels. "Dogs should be allowed inside the parks with guidelines such as no off-leash dogs and cleaning up after pooping. This way, the parks can be maintained and dogs are also allowed," added Sasha.

In a sign of growing significance attached to pet animals, many countries have developed dog-friendly cities and colonies. People in many countries take their pets along with them during travels in and around the city. Dogs, in fact, are regular travelers in Metro, buses and trains, accompanying their owners. In fact, they are frequent visitors to stores too.

Hyderabad, though a compassionate and pet-loving city, has limited facilities for pets. "Owing to the sensitivity of regular park users and the environment, the rules laid down by the Animal Welfare Board of India can be regulated," feel the pet owners, expressing their concern over the rules they regard as harsh towards their pet buddies. They are equally aware of the sentiments of regular park users. "Dog owners can be strictly told to keep up the park's aesthetics and cleanliness, while they also enjoy their evening walks," they added.

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