Many housing societies and apartment associations have passed a decision to bar residents from keeping pets in their homes, which has been challenged in the Kerala High Court by an animal welfare organisation, which contended that banning pets was “illegal, arbitrary and unfair”.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved by People for Animals (PFA), contending that ‘associations cannot frame bye-laws or amend them in a manner at variance with the law of the country even by obtaining a consensus or by a complete majority.’
In its petition, filed through advocates K S Hariharaputhran and Bhanu Thilak, People for Animals (PFA) said that it has received plenty of complaints from pet owners/pet parents against the ban imposed by various apartment associations, housing societies and Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) across the state.
The petition said, “complaints were also received as to the notices and intimations given to pet owners/pet parents from such associations, asking them to abandon their pets.”
PFA further stated that under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, “it is an offense to abandon a pet without any reasonable cause and in any circumstances which render it likely that the pet will suffer pain by reason of starvation or thirst”.
The petitioner organisation said that the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in 2015 issued guidelines which advise pet owners to ensure that their pets are not a source of nuisance to others, but it also made clear that no amount of pressure from any source should lead to abandonment of the pets and that doing so is a violation of the law. The plea seeks a direction to all the apartment associations, RWAs and housing societies to comply with the Animal Welfare Board of India’s guidelines of 2015.
It also seeks direction to be provided to the local governing bodies to resolve the issues regarding ban on keeping pets.