Over a decade after bringing in regulations that pet owners would have to clean their pets’ poop from roadsides, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally started implementing the rule in some parts of the city, starting Friday. In three days, the civic body penalised 16 people (caretakers/owners) for not cleaning up after their dogs.
The civic body’s D ward (Mumbai Central-Charni Road) office has formed a special squad, comprising 32 clean-up marshals, to keep vigil on owners/caretakers who walk their pets.
The special drive against pets dirtying stretches of prime locations in south Mumbai such as Marine Drive promenade and Cuffe Parade pavements has now been extended to areas such as August Kranti Maidan, Girgaum Chowpatty, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai Central, Grant Road, Charni Road, Tardeo, Peddar Road and Napean Sea Road.
“There is already a bylaw, but it was not being implemented regularly. The problem has become a nuisance in some areas. So we decided to start the drive again and start penalising petowners who do not clean the mess,” said Vishwas Mote, assistant municipal commissioner, D ward.
Officials have been distributing pamphlets, warning that anyone who allows his pet to litter will have to clean up or pay a fine of Rs 500. Armed with a pet poop “pick-up tool”, the clean-up marshals have been speaking to pet owners and caretakers, giving them a demonstration on how to use the tool. “There are many such tools available in the market. The one our marshals carry are easily available for Rs 200,” said a senior BMC official.
But pet owners say the bigger menace perhaps is the swelling population of stray dogs, which was 95,172 as per a 2014 census. “I agree owners of poorly toilet trained pets must put more efforts and see to it that they don’t dirty public places. But starting a penalty before resolving the issue of stray dogs is unfair. The civic body must first deal with the issue of growing number of stray dogs,” said Lizzy George, a resident of Napean Sea Road and a pet owner.