With most apartments banning pets, the poor animal’s chances of finding a home are slimmer than ever. SIVA B.
At a time when multi-storeyed apartments are seen as a housing solution, one issue that is often overlooked is that of pets. As a society, we seem to have forgotten that we aren’t the only inhabitants of the earth. One sign that’s common to most apartment complexes and housing colonies is “NO PETS ALLOWED”. If anyone violates the rule, a notice to vacate the house lands at their doorstep. The reasons given are that pets create a lot of noise; someone might be attacked if a pet is left unattended; pets require a lot of space and apartments might not be adequate. But what we do not seem to have realised is how territorial we’ve become as social animals ourselves.
Out in the street
An apartment complex, on an average, holds about 50 families, larger ones boast of 150 to 200 families. In any urban locality, there are at least 25 to 30 apartments. No pets in any of them? So, where do these pets go? It’s not like we have a separate area dedicated for all these social animals to live in. They are driven to the streets where they barely get food, attention and care. But are they left in peace there? No. To control the population of cats and dogs on the streets we have to “neuter” them. If there is a species that needs neutering because it is reproducing too much, humans should be on that list. Think about it and see if neutering animals is really a solution. The answer usually is that they will suffer if they are left on the streets but nobody seems to bother about why they are being left out there in the first place.
Though we occupy a common space, we have to face the fact that humans are a greedy race. But we don’t like to talk about that. We’re too busy buying iPhones and fuel-efficient cars and 3D TVs to watch Animal Planet and National Geographic in HD. Parents are too busy, over-cautious and over-protective because their priority is to not attract any trouble from the building association. Children who grow up without having any pets seem to grow away from the joy of having one. Children who love pets are completely voiceless and most parents pay no attention when a child asks for a pet as it is an additional responsibility. Recent studies have shown that infants who grow up with a pet in the household develop a better immune system. But many believe that pets are a health hazard. Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, but at the increasing rate of human population, this responsibility is becoming a duty and not a choice.
If a pet creates noise, is banning them the only rational solution? We have taken the easy solution instead of the right one. It all depends on the temperament at which the pet is raised. All we need to do is educate people on how to raise their pets to adapt in their homes. The Kennel Club of India has a “Canine Good Citizen” practice that teaches people how to raise their pets in apartments. Sure, accidents are bound to happen, but don’t blame the animals for it. After all we have occupied their space. And has banning pets really solved the problem in apartment complexes? We continue to quarrel among ourselves for parking space and noise from speakers. So collectively, the problem is with us, not the animals. If a crying baby is creating too much noise and the heart patient next door is not able to rest, who do we ban? And if we cannot ban either, then why are we banning pets?
Many organisations like the Blue Cross and student initiatives like The Pound are trying to promote the idea of adopting pets. Many are still on the streets because most people who want to adopt a pet live in apartments and are bound by association rules. Pets are abandoned when people shift homes and their new apartment has a pet ban. So it’s all about a choice. A choice many have been too busy to make. I hope that “associations” and their “board of members” realise the bigger picture and break their bans to allow the growth of a pet-friendly society.
Banning pets in apartments does not make any sense. If the animal poses direct harm to any particular person/s, then exceptions can be made. But why make a blanket rule that ALL animals should be banned? When we can tolerate an annoying neighbour why can’t we extend the same courtesy to another creature? Something should be done about it. Unless we do so, more animals are just going to be abandoned or left at shelters where their future is uncertain. - ANJANA PARANDHAMAN, B.Sc. Zoology, Stella Maris
In India, having a pet is not taken half as seriously as in other countries. People don’t think twice before abandoning their pets because the State doesn’t prosecute you! If you don’t have the strength to stand by your pet, don’t get one! The problem begins with people who see animals as a threat to a “civilised society”. It continues with people who surrender to such beliefs and ‘give up’ their pet. Ever heard of people abandoning their children because others seem to have a problem with the noise they make? Humans have to get over themselves and give animals (inside or outside of the house) their due. - DAMINI RALLEIGH, Asian College of Journalism
Why are pets banned in apartments? Because they might harm the other tenants. They are pets, not aliens from Jupiter! I mean, most pets are tame and obey their masters; therefore, there’s little room for harm. And a dog will not bite a random guy, unless it’s been provoked. Everyone cannot afford an independent house, you know. - SUMESH NARAYANAN, Final Year, B.Com, Vivekananda College
Although pet bans is an extreme measure, there has to be a regulatory body that is effective and active in looking into the welfare of these animals to ensure not just food and shelter, but also space and hygiene. I’ve seen over-enthusiastic people getting pets and then either forgetting about them, over-/under-feeding them, or leaving them in cages. Pets are a huge responsibility and it is important that neither the pet nor the owner is hurt. Banning pets in apartments is a convenient solution, not necessarily the ‘right’ one. - TEJAL JOHRI, Economics student at Symbiosis
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