Don't be a beast, practise empathy for all

Published: Dec 06, 2018, 05:57 IST | mid-day correspondent | Mumbai

Yet it is to stress that animal lovers have to be empathetic to others sharing the space too, and at the same time, residents need to treat animals with kindness

A report about residents allegedly setting a cat on fire inside an Oshiwara residential complex has once again put the focus on the never-ending battle between pet owners and housing societies. An animal lover in Oshiwara who takes care of 80 stray cats and dogs in her complex alleged that someone had tied her three-year-old cat to a tree branch and set her on fire.

Firstly, everybody needs to treat animals with compassion and care. We have seen instances of shocking cruelty. From stones tied to dog's tails, to kicking animals or maiming them as sport, the list is endless. Having said that, all housing societies could do with a pet policy, to avoid the constant skirmishes between pet parents and other residents. Some residents feel that pets in the society are a nuisance, claiming that the animals harass them or are dangerous. The committee needs to have a clearly spelt out, fair pet policy so that the residents have guidelines and rules to adhere to. Pet owners must be held to various responsibilities. They have to see that their pets do not pose a danger to others in the society. They need to clean up after their pets. This is non-negotiable.

Those with pets have to be aware and sympathetic to the fact that other residents may have allergies to certain kinds of animal fur, or they may simply be intimidated by dogs or cats. Some residents house more than 10 or 20 pets in homes. Their animals must be well looked after and well trained. They cannot in any way pose a nuisance to others living in the housing society. This editorial in no way is meant to excuse or condone the burning of a cat. Yet it is to stress that animal lovers have to be empathetic to others sharing the space too, and at the same time, residents need to treat animals with kindness.

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