14 Feb Vadodara Municipal Corporation to reduce ‘dog tax’ after lukewarm response from pet owners
Since the Vadodara Municipal Corporation decided to collect a “dog tax”, the responses provided from the public have not exactly been favourable. To increase interaction with the program, the VMC has now decided to reduce the taxed amount from the previously issued number of Rs 1000/- INR for three years. The move comes in light of complaints from pet owners, who argue the VMC should not collect a tax as their pets receive no benefits in return from it.
Ami Ravat, Leader of Opposition in the VMC, said the VMC should provide dog owners with medical and veterinary services, as well as outline a dog-keeping policy so pets can be better regulated.
From the previously issued number of Rs 500/- INR for one year, the amount now stands at Rs 1000/- for three years. The VMC has also provided online registration provisions for ease of access, according to officials, who further said that the money collected via tax will be primarily used to neuter stray dogs, according to VMC’s standing committee chairman Hitendra Patel.
The chairman also said that out of an estimated 8,000-9,000 pet dogs across 19 wards in the city, only a handful of owners have stepped forward to pay the tax, with collections being insubstantial. “We have reduced the amount of tax to Rs 1,000 for three years. We have also made the provision of online registration for dog owners. We have reduced the burden on dog lovers. They should contact us with issues affecting them so we could resolve them,” he said.
Chairman Patel detailed the issue, stating “The issue is not just about collecting tax from the canine lovers, but also to establish a dialogue with them by encouraging them to come forward and get their pets registered.” He added, “We carried out sterilization of street dogs and spent Rs 40-50 lakh per year. We will use the income collected from dog tax for good works and will proceed through a dialogue with owners”.
“People have not come forward for this despite our efforts in the past. We want more people to come forward. And this way, street dogs should be treated in such a way that the number of dog bite cases are reduced,” he said.
But this development is not being welcomed with open arms, as per the residents. Devangi Dalvi, Vadodara resident and pet parent, termed this a “negative development” for dog lovers throughout the city, claiming the administration does little for dogs, with instances of violence against street dogs being ignored or brushed aside with no action, saying “I believe the government should not collect tax from dog owners, because it does nothing for the benefit of such dogs. If you do something for such dogs, then you can collect tax. Tomorrow they may demand tax on feeding pigeons. I do not think this is right,”
Ami Ravat outlined the plan for collecting Rs 1 Crore as a dog tax, and how that number will come about after the registration of 20,000 dogs. “I have demanded that against this registration, you should give them some services. The civic body should give dog owners the facility of veterinary service at a civic hospital in the city. They should have a dog-keeping policy. There were a few cases of pet dogs biting people and police took no action, nor did we have a policy on this,” she said.