Keeping a pet comes with a lot of responsibilities. Other than gaining a friend who will be there for you all the time, pet owners need to step up and look after the animal as well. This includes taking your pooch on regular walks as well as scooping up their poop from public streets or parks.
But it has been noticed in many areas that dog owners neglect their poop clearing duties, thereby leaving public parks and morning walk routes littered with unhygienic faeces. Even though municipalities in Delhi and Mumbai have introduced heavy fines, some pet owners are finding it harder to let go of petty habits.
According to a solid waste management by-law passed in the year 2018 in Delhi, littering by pet animals is prohibited under Section 13 (1). Also, the owner is responsible for promptly cleaning up the litter in public spaces. If not followed, there is also a fine of Rs 500. However, not many fines have been actually charged in the years that followed.
A Times of India reportstates that this happens because the rules were framed quite “mindlessly”. Although there is a fine in place, usually in areas of South Delhi, domestic help or dog walkers are appointed to take the pet out. So, the person walking the dog is not able to pay the monetary fine.
Many Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) have called on the citizens and associations to be careful and more responsible. They have sought help from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to come up with strict rules and guidelines for pet owners. They have also pondered about erecting pet corners and sand-filled litter spaces in particular colonies to deal with the poop issue.
While BS Vohra from RWA Bhagidari accepted that it was “very difficult to monitor” violations by pet owners on a daily basis, he opined that people should realise if they bring a pet to live with, they should also discharge the responsibilities that come with it. He advised people to designate a fixed spot in people’s houses or the surrounding area, where they should train the dogs to defecate. Also, they need to clean the place afterwards.
Another member of a RWA in South Delhi said that they have written several letters to the pet owners in the area to be mindful, but not much has been achieved. “We advised them to take plastic bags while going out with dogs,” the member added.
Apart from negligence, there is a misbelief that leads pet owners to not clean after their dogs. It is the belief that dog poop can make up for manure. But it is a false notion as the faeces are in fact home to various germs and dangerous for plants’ health