If you have a Pet, it's Compulsory to Register under GMC
GUWAHATI: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation’s (GMC) drive to prod residents of the city to get their pet dogs registered is yet to pick up pace. A highly-placed source at the veterinary branch of GMC informed G Plus that the number of registered pet dogs during the period 2017-18 was 89 and it has now increased to 75 by August 21 this year.
The GMC had recently increased the registration fee from Rs 110 to Rs 210. A discussion on dog registration and animal birth control took place in presence of GMC Mayor Mrigen Sarania on January 6, 2018 following which the decision was taken. Posters were also put up in various parts of the city with the aim to raise awareness regarding pet registration and its amount.
During the meeting held in January, the veterinary officer of GMC apprised that there was an absence of proper registration system of the pet dogs within the GMC area and proposed a sum of Rs 200 per dog to be levied as registration fees along with application fees of Rs 10 per dog from the pet owners. He further proposed that these rates will apply if an applicant directly approaches the GMC office for registration. However, if GMC franchises with pet clinics, NGOs or other clinics, they are allowed to levy an additional amount of Rs 50 per dog as service charge, totaling it up to Rs 260 per dog. Thereby, after discussion, meeting approved the proposal for dog registration and authorized the commissioner to take necessary steps in this regard.
“With the introduction and proper implementation of the system, GMC will be able to identify the total number of pet dogs in the area,” claimed Dr. Pradip Medhi, veterinary officer of GMC.
It is to be noted that presently, not a single NGO is associated with GMC for pet registration. But, some of the 25 veterinary clinics functioning in the city are. This, along with the lack of manpower in GMC, has been cited as the foremost reason behind the substantially low number of pets registered.
While pet dog registration is compulsory under the GMC Act and denying/failing to do so is punishable, it’s interesting that the organization has not issued a single challan against the violation so far. The law came into force several years ago. However, in the absence of a regular drive, GMC has failed to get pet dogs registered.
According to the official website of GMC, an amount of Rs 110 per dog is to be collected from the owner (Rs 100 as registration fees and Rs 10 as application fees). The difference in the amount published on the website and that being charged from the pet owners in reality has created discrepancy, chaos and confusion among the owners.
“The GMC and the district administration have failed miserably in addressing issues such as garbage disposal and animal welfare schemes resulting not just in an increase in the population of homeless/ scavenging animals but also on their health. It is the handful of NGOs and concerned citizens who have instead been tirelessly extending a helping hand to solve the situation by their actions such as adopting homeless animals or rescuing / treating them.
Now for the GMC to come out with a blanket fee of 260 both for pedigreed pets and homeless animals is just not ethical. This move will certainly not go well and may generate a negative attitude of the mass towards the indigenous homeless animal adoption drives,” Azam Siddique, a certified master trainer in animal welfare associated with the AWBI told G Plus.
Siddique had earlier written to the veterinary officer regarding the discrepancy in the amount and asking for an explanation for the same. He hasn’t yet received a reply to the e-mail dated August 8, 2018.
When asked about the same, Dr. Medhi seemed unaware of the information published on the website, adding that the website might not have been updated recently. G Plus further emphasized with screenshots that the website had been edited the previous day itself; however, nobody cared enough to change the rates for pet animal’s registration.
Speaking to G Plus about the difference prevailing in the rates and its consequences, a pet lover from the city anonymously said, “I love dogs, so whenever I see a stray dog that’s hurt, I take him/her home, take care of them and nurture them. At present, I have 6 dogs at my house. So if someday an official asks me to pay Rs 260 per dog, I wouldn’t just pay the money without cross-checking. But, after seeing in GMC’s website that the amount for registration has been quoted at Rs 110, I’d definitely not pay the official. I might even think them to be fraud.”
She further added that the present government keeps putting emphasis on Digital India but they themselves do not have the proper systems and mechanisms in place to facilitate the transition from India to Digital India. The attitude of the government is more careless when the issues prevail to animals, especially stray animals.