A recent Karnataka High Court directive on the breeding and import of “ferocious and dangerous” dogs, has rightfully pointed to “responsible pet ownership” — something that gets lost in high-pitched discussions on dogs.

Be it pets or community dogs, it always whittles down to responsible behaviour — from the owner, government departments in charge of getting animals registered and sterilised, and the larger community of people.

Re-examining import ban

The HC has called for a re-examination of the ban on import and breeding of dogs identified as dangerous, besides calling for wider consultations with stakeholders like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), according to media-reports. Peta India has called for strengthening of the Centre’s circular to protect pit-bull-type dogs (used and abused in illegal dog-fights), and to safeguard humans from attacks.

The need is to proceed with knowledge and empathy here.

Animals have been bred and their behaviour manipulated to fight, race or just be props. People working with animals recount numerous instances of breed dogs (cats/parrots etc) being abandoned for being too aggressive, expensive to maintain or too sick to bear more young ones. Animals behave as they do, as they’re often bred in unhealthy/unscrupulous environments — bringing us back to responsibility. Authorities need to have a registry to map ownership, births, death, breeders etc — just as in humans. A person owning an “aggressive” pet is accountable for its well-being and should be identified (and blacklisted) if it is abandoned. A person unable to keep a pet for some reason should be able to responsibly put it up for adoption. Municipalities and residents need to work with animal organisations to ensure systematic animal birth control initiatives, and encourage responsible living — be it with pets or community animals.