Delhi pet shop owners welcome new licence rules

October 17th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Pet shop owners here have welcomed the state civic body’s decision to review the existing licence policy on trade of animals and demarcating standards for accommodation and hygiene for pets, saying they are tired of harassment by NGOs in the name of “cruelty towards animals”. The Delhi Municipal Corporation act, 1957 has a clause on issuing licences for trade of four-legged animals like dogs and cows.

Till now however, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), which governs 80 percent of Delhi, did not issue licences to pet shops for sale of animals, because of the generic nature of the little-known clause.

Now flak from animal rights groups headed by Maneka Gandhi has got the MCD to review its licence policy and widen its scope.

“We didn’t know any policy for pet trade was in the pipeline - if so - we are glad!” said Ashok Rai, president of Pet Lover’s Association (PLA).

Rai, who owns a pet shop in Mehrauli and has been in the business for two decades, said: “If pet shops are indeed being cruel to animals, they should be heavily fined - but when NGOs with no authority claim that caging animals and birds is cruelty - take our animals away and blackmail us - the lack of clear policy in Delhi makes it difficult.”

Rai informed that association members, many of whom own pet shops, had often approached the MCD for licences and had asked for information on trade policies.

He said: “After all we need to know the law, to defend ourselves against bogus claims - but we have been told that there is nothing on trading pets.”

The new policy on trade of pets is still in its conception stage and will “take some time to come into effect”, an MCD official informed.

“The existing policy doesn’t take into account accommodation standards or maintenance.
Neither is the sale of birds or fish accounted for. So we are coming up with a new trade licence policy for pet shops taking into account sale of different animals and rights issues,” R.B.S Tyagi, director veterinary services department, MCD, told IANS.

“The licence fee is currently Rs.500; we feel that if the corporation permits - we could enhance licence rates also,” Tyagi added.

Other pet shop owners here said that they were glad a policy was finally being worked on.

“Even if the fee and punitive measures are increased - we don’t mind. If we can pay income tax, sales tax then fee for a trade licence is irrelevant. At least the trade will be taken seriously!” concluded Kaushik Shah, owner of Unique Pet Shop in Saket and member of PLA.

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