Its quite common to see RWAs coming down on people feeding dogs even pets on their premises. In a first a federation of RWAs (Resident Welfare Associations) writes to its members cautioning them to lawfully deal with stray dogs.
RWAs (Residents’ Welfare Associations), and Apartment Owners’ Associations, are viewed with suspicion by most of us that care for, feed, and look after community dogs (usually referred to as ‘stray dogs’), because of the single-mindedness with which they often try to persecute our dogs. They try to drive them away, through beatings and cruelty by safai karmacharis and security guards; or get them dumped at far off places.
They also try, together with other misguided residents, to “gang up” against the people that look after the dogs, and attempt to ostracize them, or levy absurd “fines” – which it is beyond their mandate to do ; or pass “orders” that the dogs will not be fed – which they cannot do. So what has happened recently and is described here comes as a welcome surprise.
Against the highhandedness of various Noida RWAs, and their ill-treatment of community dogs and their well-wishers, concerned Noida residents had been communicating with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) from time to time. The AWBI therefore wrote a letter to the Federation of Noida RWAs (popularly referred to as the “FONRWA) ; and to the CEO of the Noida Authority – the local authority looking to the administration and upkeep of Noida ; and to the District Magistrate, Gautambudh Nagar, inviting their attention to the growing menace of ill-informed, interfering, pompous RWAs ; AND advising them about the lawful manner of dealing with dogs. The letter that the AWBI wrote to the Federation of Noida RWAs and others, can be seen below.
What is amazing, and surely a FIRST, is that based on the AWBI letter the Federation of Noida RWAs has written to every single one of its member RWAs, advising them regarding the lawful manner of treating and dealing with community dogs ; and cautioning them against RWA members behaving illegally with dogs.
The Federation has also advised its members RWAs to enquire into, and take strict action against those found to be indulging in illegalities against community dogs.
The letter that the Federation of Noida RWAs (i.e. the FONRWA) has written to all its Member RWAs, can be seen HERE.
THE LAWFUL MANNER OF DEALING WITH COMMUNITY DOGS, which the Federation of Noida RWAs has extracted from the Animal Welfare Board of India letter, and communicated to its Members RWAs, and therefore endorsed, is as below :
- As per Indian law, stray dogs cannot be beaten or driven away, whether from residential or other complexes, or even from public places such as parks, etc. They can only be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, vaccinated, and then returned back to their original locations. For the area-wise sterilization program that the law mandates shall be followed, dogs have to be returned back to their original habitat after sterilization and immunization. The rationale behind the same is that dogs, being territorial in nature, tend to fight off other dogs, and keep them from entering their territories ; and in this manner, the dog population in each territory stabilizes and reduces.
- There is no law that prohibits the feeding of street animals. Citizens who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India – of showing compassion to all living creatures. Various Courts have unambiguously upheld stray dog feeding.
- Animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code – punishable with imprisonment and fine.
- Attempts to interfere with, or harass persons who choose to look after and feed community dogs, is tantamount to the very grave offence of criminal intimidation.
- Last but not the least : any aggression or hostility that the dogs may be subjected to, will only render them aggressive, and hostile to humans. They may then resort to snapping and biting in self-defence. If the same happens, the human aggressors shall be the only ones to blame.
If your RWA / Apartment Owners’ Association is harassing you, or trying to deal cruelly with or persecute your community dogs, you can confront them with the letter that the Federation of Noida RWAs issued to its Member RWAs, and use it to your advantage.