Coronavirus Maharashtra: Pet owners now allowed to walk their pets, says AWBI

Coronavirus Maharashtra: Pet owners now allowed to walk their pets, says AWBI

Pet owners can heave a sigh of relief after Maharashtra government's big announcement. Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has asked States to allow pet owners to walk their pets outside. Although pets require to be walked daily to remain healthy, the nationwide lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus also caused them to stay indoors. 

The board has demanded three-time slots of 20 minutes for pet owners to take their pets for a walk. This announcement was made keeping in mind nature's call, as well as other routine exercises required for their good health. It also be would be considered an act of cruelty under the law if denied of their basic rights.

The nationwide circular has been issued by the AWBI to instruct all the directors of Animal Husbandry of the states and UTs. "On Friday, the State has issued circulars to adopt AWBI guidelines and issued directions to local police and local administration for compliance," said Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, the advocate general of the state and PP Kakade, the pleader. 

The guidelines issued in AWBI circular makes it mandatory for all the pet owners to follow all the precautionary measures, including social distancing. Considering the danger of COVID-19 contagion, it is important to follow the safety norms until the outbreak has passed. 

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filled by Vineeta Tandon, who is an animal activist. This PIL is regarded as very important as it debars the activities which are considered to be cruel for animals. It was submitted by her lawyer Harshvardhan Bhende with the AWBI. 

The AWBI circular mentions that they received several complaints from animal welfare organisations and pet owners regarding local authorities not allowing them to take their dogs for their daily walks. It has clarified that preventing animals from attending nature's call or taking away their basic right is an offence, as it may turn fatal. 

Some guidelines issued by AWBI:

  • Considering the recent scenario there might be a food shortage so pet owners must store adequate food for their pets
  • Take pets out for attending nature's calls in given slots by local administration
  • Follow the norms of social distancing
  • Don't allow pets to have unnecessary physical contact with other human beings as it may increase the risk of COVID-19 infection

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