To prevent the increasing skirmishes between animal lovers and residents, Department of Animal Husbandry has come out with guidelines for apartment owners’ associations (AOA) and resident welfare associations (RWA).

The department has ruled that no AOAs or RWAs can deny permission to residents from owning a pet, more so based on the size of the dog or its barking. Animal lovers are given the right to rare pets even by the Constitution, and associations cannot refuse animals entry into elevators, said the department in the guidelines.

Owners have to take care of their pet’s hygiene and cleanliness, but associations can neither penalise residents nor pressure them into giving up their pets.

“Poisoning, killing, starving them, injuring or physically assaulting or illegally confining them is a punishable offence under the law,” the release added.

Feeding stray animals is an act of social service and such people being threatened or troubled is also unlawful, the department has added, saying that such animals can be fed at a distance from the said properties.

Such associations can contact NGOs to have them vaccinated and for birth control before returning them to their areas. The guidelines mentioned for pets will also apply to stray animals.

Citizen activist Arun Prasad said there were quite a few cases of those feeding stray animals during the lockdown being targeted. “There were also many cases of apartment owners putting up restrictions for pets and their owners. We need to learn how to coexist with all creatures,” he said.

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