Bombay High Court Directs State to Allow Movement of Pet Taxies and Ambulances Amid Lockdown

The Bombay High Court directed the state to issue a clear directive to the police administration. It says not to stop or obstruct ambulances or pet taxies for ferrying sick animals to and from veterinary clinics. Further, the Court sought clarification from the State; on whether pet owners stand allowed to take their pets for a walk amid the lockdown.

Vineeta Tandon, an animal welfare activist from Pune, filed the PIL. She alleged that police authorities have been arbitrarily stopping citizens from taking their pets, more specifically dogs, for walks. Justice SC Gupte heard the said PIL through video conferencing.

Contentions

Petitioner’s lawyer contended the following two points. Firstly, police stations issued arbitrary directions to housing societies to stop residents from taking their dogs for walks. Secondly, ambulances or pet taxies operated by NGOs and others to ferry animals from their shelters or pet owners to veterinary clinics and back stand arbitrarily stopped and obstructed by the police administration.

Meanwhile, the Central Animal Welfare Board issued directions to State DGPs. Calling upon them to allow people to walk their dogs as a measure of prevention of cruelty to animals. The directive has been reported in the press, the petitioner submitted this.

Counsel from the State’s side submitted the following two points. Firstly, the State directives do not prohibit from walking them within the compounds. Secondly, with regard to the ambulances or pet taxies for ferrying of sick animals to and from veterinary clinics; the State said it did not ask the police administration to stop or obstruct such ambulances or pet taxies.

Court’s Verdict

The court observed, “in the matter of walking of dogs, the State must take an appropriate decision in that behalf and communicate the same to the court by this next date“. Adding, “In the meantime, the State is directed to issue a clear directive to the police administration not to stop or obstruct ambulances or pet taxies for ferrying sick animals to and from veterinary clinics“.

The HC directed the State to communicate its stand through an affidavit before this court. The next date of hearing is 15 May 2020.

Earlier in April 2020, the Kerala High Court allowed a writ petition filed by a person seeking vehicle pass to buy pet feed for his cats amid lockdown.