Residential Societies can’t ban people from having Pet Animals

Over the past many months, Jaagruti’s helpline has been inundated with calls and queries from people across many major Indian cities, like Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and other metros where RWAs or Residential Welfare Associations that are formed in various societies have come up with ‘no pet clauses’ and are forcing residents therein to abandon their pets! This post is to apprise you all that ‘RWAs cannot come with such clauses which are both unconstitutional and unlawful.

Please click on the link below to download the notice that was sent to a society in Gurgaon sometime back by a team of well-respected lawyers. If you are facing a similar issue, then take guidance from the text mentioned therein and with the help of a competent advocate/law firm/your very own lawyer friends – get a similar notice drafted and get it sent across to the Office Bearers in your Housing Society. If they don’t get the point on reading your notice, drag them to the Consumer Courts. Remember that all those who have taken this step have won the case and so have their pets and dogs!

Click, Download and Read: Notice issued by respected law firm in Delhi to Kanchanjunga Coop.Group Housing Society in Gurgaon that was asking residents to abandon their pets

Also, read the below pasted Times of India article dated 24th May 2012 and spread it around!

Housing societies can’t prohibit pets, say legal eagles

By Journalist named Swati Deshpande

MUMBAI: Pet owners need not worry. Senior advocates say that housing societies cannot introduce by-laws to prohibit residents from keeping pets in their flats.The Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Societies Act does not prohibit members from keeping pets and no society can pass by-laws to ban pets or families with pets from society premises.

Mulraj Shah, a lawyer, says a cooperative housing society may-by majority vote- make a by-law against pet ownership, but that is only on the valid grounds of continuous nuisance created by such pets. Even such a resolution may not be binding on occupants as it would have to be tested for legality in court, said a constitutional law expert practising at Bombay high court.

In the past, courts have ruled in favour of pet owners. A housing society in Navi Mumbai was fined for having restrained a family pet from using the lift. The Thane consumer court in 2008 imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 and held that the society’s decision to prevent pets from using the lift without any valid reason amounted to “deficiency in service”. A family residing in a housing society is a “consumer” under the law.

In another important ruling in December 2010, a consumer forum in Mumbai Central ordered a housing society in Mahim to stop charging a family an additional Rs 500 for each of its pet dogs, which it said was illegal and directed that the amounts already collected be returned. Societies have a right to make rules for the benefit of its members but the law has to be reasonable and not impinge an individual’s fundamental freedoms and right to life, said lawyers.

58 Comments on “Residential Societies can’t ban people from having Pet Animals

  1. Pingback: Can’t remove Pets or harass those who feed street animals, Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon tells RWAs « Jaagruti

    • Hi,
      i have a pet dog in my house in Goa Miramar and my society has passed a law saying no pets allowed. So don’t you think it is kinda going against my personal freedom?? i wanted to know what i can do to keep my pet with me .

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      • Yes, its against your constitutional right to freedom, Pets are family as proclaimed by the Mumbai court rulings, use the same as a basis of slamming a notice against your society on this.

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      • Hey Shawn,
        Did you manage to keep your pet and what building was it in miramar? I am trying to rent and find it a challenge for me to find one that is pet friendly.

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  2. most dog lovers face this problem,people complaining about their dogs barking,I don’t understand what they expect from a dog,not to bark always stand n wag tails,I accept your pet should not attack any body,but not bark?we are concerned about our freedom of speech but their freedom of barking is considered nuisance

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    • turn a deaf ear to such people, the dogs bark only to alert people around of an unscrupulous person/activity in the nearby surroundings…take our advice, let such people ‘bark’

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      • same problem is with me , and people in here are getting on our head.I live in plumeria gardens, greater noida, U.P. i have two German shepherds one is of 6 months and another of 3 years. they both play with each other a lot which is good and i find it cute. but these guys in society are really giving us a hard time. I MEAN JUST BECAUSE THEY BARK WHILE THEY PLAY, THEY CANT FORCE US TO LEAVE. ?
        w

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      • Don’t succumb to any such harassment. Please visit http://www.awbi.org and download the circular on pet dogs dated February 2014. Give a print out of the same to your society office bearers, at best they can fix a dog walking time for the park, that is it.

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  3. in Gurgaon all the parks in residential area maintained by HUDA (huryana urban development authority) have written on entrance gate that It is prohibitted to walk the pet dogs inside this park. Where should I take my dog for a walk. He too needs walk on grass and open area to play.

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    • Thats a difficult question to answer Sir. We understand it is a precarious situation for a pet owner/pet lover, but we take our dogs to parks which dont have such boards pasted at the entrance.

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  4. i love your website.very insightful.many of the residential members are not aware of the laws for our and our pets protection.this site was very very helpful indeed.

    Like

  5. my society Shree ganesh plaza 2- Panvel as informed me that i cant keep my dog. although we are residing in the same society since 2008. Is this notice legal? if yes,please educate me with bye laws under society rules, if no then what reply i have to give.

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    • No Sir, it is illegal of the colony to do so. Please contact Nilesh Bhanage of PAWS Thane for advice 9820161114…no society can force you under whatever reason/law etc to abandon your pet or not to keep any pets.

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  6. I have a french bulldog KCI registered my society hung board with instructions saying that we are suppose to take pets outside society to walk them and answer natures call my dog is harmless and uses his own room for everything he has been attacked once outside on roads what should I do???

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    • You should try to atleast make the dog poop outside if possible, else if the dog is both peeing and pooping in your home, that should be ok….I think the notice implies that the pets should not be made to poop and pee within the colony, though getting them not to pee inside is unavoidable…you should still take your dog on a leash on your own for a good walk atleast once a day, that would be good for his health…did you let him out on his own when he got beaten by iron rods? who beat him? you should have taken that person to the police for hitting your pet so brutally because even harming animals is illegal under Sec 428 and 429 of Indian Penal Code

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  7. Hi,
    Amazing info on your website and am glad you guys are around to help. I am a flat owner in a society in Mumbai i have been residing in since the building was constructed (over 35 years ago). I have two lovely dogs. Last year, the society took objection to my pets using the society premises, the terrace and the garden. They sent out a notice banning them from these areas. I approached various animal rights activist to discuss this issue and they all said it was illegal for a society to pass such laws. Notices were sent and i assume the society understood the same & left the topic as it is. Recently at their AGM, this topic once again resurfaced. Threats to ban my pets and other consequences if i dont follow the society ‘law’ followed. I take my pets for a walk in the morning and the evening. And use the terrace or the garden when no ones around during the day or late at night for them to exercise and play. They are friendly but big dogs and need exercise. Since i am the only dog owner in the society all others seem to be terrified of them, so i make sure they are always on a leash and always monitored by me personally. They do not create a mess and if they ever have, it has been cleaned by me. In this situation what should i do? Can a society ban my pets from using common areas, even if i take extra precaution and use these areas only when no ones around and never create a mess?

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    • Hi, no way can a society ban people from having pets or even walking them if the pet owner is being as responsible as you are…what consequences are they threatening you with?

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      • Dear Jagruti team,

        We are facing problems with our society re. use of terrace for exercising our dogs.

        At the moment, the society secretary and chairperson have locked the terrace door and say it cannot be used at all.

        Would appreciate if you can share any legal document or news article providing clarity that such a ban on use of common terrace for exercising our dogs when no one else is around is not legitimate?

        thanks,
        Mona Arjun

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      • Who owns the terrace? If it’s common use then they can at best fix visiting hours and request you to maintain hygiene, they cannot bar you to bring your dogs into a common area the access of which you have paid for. Challenge them in the consumer court if possible after seeking legal counsel

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  8. Hi, I live in Bangalore. My question is regarding freedom to own a pet in an apartment complex.

    I have a 4 month old Daschund, who has been living peacefully with everyone. He being a daschund cannot use stairs, because of vulnerability to spine issues. The apartment association seems to be annoyed with this, and they are bringing out a rule saying I will be fined Rs. 100 everytime the dog is taken in a lift. They also give a general advise discouraging people to have dogs.

    I find this insensitive and insulting. Could you please advise me on what are the objections I can put to make sure they do not pass this. Are there any legal verdicts related to this?

    I saw your replies in the context of Mumbai. Are these applicable in Bangalore too?

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    • In Bangalore, you can seek guidance and intervention on this issue from Mr. Rakesh Shukla of http://www.strays.in, he can intervene with your society people and apprise them as to what they are doing is constitutionally wrong. The Mumbai Consumer Court rulings can be used as precedents if you were to approach the consumer courts at Bangalore against your society administration

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  9. Hi, I am from Chennai. I just got a letter today saying we need to get rid of our pets ( my pet is a mongrel) within 30 days the reason being they are threats. I brought in my pet when there was no association and there were no guidelines. The first association allowed the older pets to stay with certain restrictions ( lifts are out of bounds) but didn’t allow new pets to be brought in. Right now there is new set of association members who have imposed a blanket ban even though the number of pet owners could be just a few out of nearly 400 flats. My dog is within the 4 walls of my flat which hurts me definitely but where will I leave him. Kindly help me.. whom can I contact in Chennai to get a legal opinion on this. Should I send a reply to RWA only after consultation ?

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    • Do you leave your pets out in the open without a leash for them to be referred to as ‘threats’? If not then having a pet is no crime at all, your society’s letter to you is unconstitutional. ..please challenge it in consumer court…you can take advice from Ms.Anjali Sharma in Delhi, a senior advocate and legal advisor to AWBI 9810011235 is her number..or you can contact Blue Cross of India at Chennai and Mr.Satya or Mr. Chinny Krishna can guide you on how to challenge this letter. Remember no one can ask or force you to abandon or leave your pet. Stay strong and fight this out.

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  10. We bought a home here in bangalore in July 2012 in a layout which never had any residents welfare association then.But now some residents are trying to form an association and one of the bye laws is we are not supposed to keep more than 2 dogs.We have more than two..What do you think?
    thanks
    Kumar

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    • It is unconstitutional of am RWA to even frame such bye laws that go against the national laws and the Indian constitution…do not worry no one can force you to abandon your pets or not have them…sonce you are in Bangalore, please approach http://www.strays.in helpline and speak to Mr. Rakesh Shukla in there to seek advice on how to confront your RWA on this subject.

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  11. I live in Surat and I have kept one 8 months old cow as a pet in home, is it legal to keep a cow in bunglows in residential area ? We keep cow and its place always clean. But one neighbour has a objection, he also keep a pet dog, what can I do to save my small cow.
    Please reply.

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  12. Hi,I m from Lucknow,a resident of Gomti Nagar Extension,I have a pet dod(Labrador),he is very quiet never bark without any reason,he is even not disturbing kids and residents in the society.But still they have given us a notice to remove him within 15 days,on the basis that he attacks on people and mess the lifts,but this is not true.What can we do now.Please suggest,in Lucknow(Uttar Pradesh)is their any law as stated above.

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    • Stay firm…no one can force you to abandon your pet dog…also have his vaccination card ready with you…you can easily counter this notice by sending a counter reply asking people to prove who he has bitten, wound marks, doctor visits, vaccines they have taken etc..under no law can they force you to abandon your pet or take him away from you…

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  13. Hi , I am from Kalyan-Mumbai, I have Dobberman bread 3yrs old trained pet.
    Everytime my Rocky barks ,society issues a complaint . few days back society has asked us to keep rocky only if No Objection Certificate from all members in society is duly signed. I thing this is just ridiculous , i mean my rocky is trained , till now he didn’t harmed any one in society .. infact he saved our society many times from thieves. For us he is not just a pet.. He is our Family member…Would this NOC matters ..(bcoz as i said many of the members have objection with keeping DOG..so they will not sign)
    Is this NOC only way to keep my rocky with me….
    I m afraid , our family loves Rocky very much…
    i wanted to know what i can do to keep my rocky with me .

    Like

    • Please don’t worry, no one can ask you to abandon your pet or take him away. Don’t succumb to pressures. Get in touch with Nilesh Bhanage of PAWS Thane 9820161114 and he will issue warning letters explaining the law to your society members.

      Like

      • Hello , my name is sandeep and i am from surat, even my society is putting pressure on me in the same way , can anyone plz help me out

        Like

  14. I have just been asked to abandon my cat because i feed the stray cats in and around my building. My cat is an indoor cat and i will not abandon it, he’s family! I am so furious right now. I know the easiest thing to do will be to stop feeding the strays but i dont want to do that. These poor defence creatures are at our mercy unfortunately and to how cruel is it to not feed a starving animal. My heart breaks as i write this but i want to take this up formally if im slammed with a notice or warning of some sort. And the reason for this happening to me is also simply because i stay in a rented apartment and not an owned one.

    Like

    • Dear Ramya, no one can ask you to abandon your pet. Infact abandoning one’s pet is a punishable offence under Section 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Let the society do whatever they want to, a pet if at all can be confiscated only by the Court’s orders. Infact file a police complaint against these people who are harassing you under Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code for “criminally intimidating” you and remember feeding strays is not a crime either. Which city are you writing from?

      Like

      • hiee jagruthi i stay in naigaon and I have Labrador its with me from 8years and in this society I’m staying from 2 years now the society is giving me trouble they are telling they will fine me 1000 if I keep my pet with me

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  15. Hi I’m from Pen Raigad.I have a pet dog(Labrador mix breed),he is very quiet never bark without any reason,he is even not disturbing kids and residents in the society,its already been four years, still some of the members are writing complain about how the societies cannot have pets. Have have already told them about the Law regarding Pets in society but still are not excepting it and causing us trouble by trying to frame him. Please let me know how can i solve this problem.

    Like

  16. This information is really good. I too am facing similar issues and I reside in Goa. The treasurer of the housing society where my flat is says that we cannot keep our Labrador in the flat as pets are not allowed. Please help me as I have no other place for him. is it right from his point of view or I could debate on this.

    Like

    • Dear Melroy

      Firstly, please do not worry.

      The more you worry the more people will scare you.

      Please find the link to the recent Animal Welfare Board of India circular in this regard. http://www.awbi.org/awbi-pdf/pet_dog_circular_26_2_2015.pdf. Please read through it and share it with anyone who harasses you.

      You should not succumb to any pressure and/or be forced into abandoning your pets because of such people who are there aplenty in every city.Please be strong. Also, please connect with Senior Advocate Ms.Norma Alvares who heads “People for Animals Goa”

      Like

  17. Hi,

    I live in a newly built apartment in Noida. I have a 2 years old Labrador. There are few other residents , who have pets, but we are outnumbered.
    Few people have registered complain that pets do litter and pee with-in society, so respective pet owners should take their pets outside Society for this purpose.
    Taking pets outside is not safe in our area.

    So can we demand the builder/RWA to designate a small space as Pets littering area(Most of the residents are not in favor)?

    Also can we ask them to identify a park for the pets and fix some timing for the use of pets, during which they can do some exercise and run around. We can fix timings, in early morning and late evening, so that it does not create inconvenience to other residents.
    Animal welfare board’s circular says something about this.

    Can you please guide me this regard?

    Like

  18. I am from howrah, west bengal. I have 3 dogs in my flat which is a residential building and the residents have altogether abandoned us from taking our dog to the terrace for a walk. They complain about pooping and al but we clean it even. My dogs are too afraid, street dogs attack when i take them down to the streets. Is it possible that a time can be fixed for taking the dog on the terrace. Can a warning letter be issued to them?

    Like

  19. I am highly pleased to read the contents and comments and answers.
    I am a senior practising chartered accountant in Mumbai at Fort and stays at khar (West ) and involved in medical and health care of stray dogs.I also tries to take care and feed railway station dogs.
    I intend to create awareness for protection and healthy feeding of stray dogs in Mumbai and I am spending lot of my money for stray dogs and I suggest for harmony and unity of people working for stray dogs.
    I want to get updated from you on latest court ruling on feeding stray dogs in housing societies and laws on the matter from you and from others.
    I feel that unity and helping each other for the cause will go long way for stray dogs and animals.
    I request for quick communication from you and from other kind hearted individuals involved for the same cause.
    Thanks and obliged
    Rajesh Kantilal Vakil

    Like

  20. Hi jaagruti,
    I am Srestha from pune and my neighbor is often causing trouble for keeping a pet dog at home. I don’t allow my dog to roam at common corridor whole day he stays at home and only comes out at time of walk at morning and at afternoon. Also never bite anyone in the society. Still he wants me to leave my pet alone at street cause to him they are not worth to leave along with people. I m really stressed need help regarding what to do further to stop this trouble permanently. Hope to get your reply as early as possible. It would be really a help to get any direction to move further.

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    • Mam,You should also contact Ms.Meher of ALERT-Animal law enforcement rescue team.Pune.9850089239.She will guide you. Do not succumb to any pressure. No one can ask you to abandon your dog and neither can they harass you. Fight this out.

      Like

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