License Please

The issue of licensing for dogs has always been a topic for discussion among pet parents for a long time. With the BMC trying to introduce the e-licensing service again, will the days of struggling for a license finally be behind us?

Procuring a license for dogs has always left pet parents scratching their heads. Questions such as ‘Why does my dog need a license?’, ‘How do I apply for the license?’ ‘Does the license need renewal?’ and more such often go unanswered. In this article, we try to answer as many questions as we can so that by the end, only your furry partners will be left scratching themselves.

Under Section 191 (A) of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888, it is compulsory for every pet dog owner to pay the tax by obtaining a license after the pup is six months old. Since this license is only provided to dogs who have been vaccinated, it helps in curbing and controlling rabies. This license also establishes the ownership of the dog in case of any dispute or loss of the pet. The fee for the license varies across cities, with the BMC charging Rs100 for every dog year and future renewals along with a one-time fee of Rs150 for the license book. This answers the ‘why’, now let’s move onto ‘how’.

As of now, this license can only be acquired offline in Bombay. In order to do so, the pet parent has to visit one of the nearest ward offices – Mahalaxmi, Mulund, Bandra and Malad – and submit the relevant documents such as ID and address proof and the dog’s overall vaccination certificates. Post this, the pet parent will receive the license within six working days. While this seems easy in theory, is it practical? Pet parents in the city certainly don’t think so. The process has been time and again reported to be inefficient, with citizens having to pay multiple visits to the ward office. This discourages majority of the pet parents from applying for the license.

Making a note of this, BMC tried to introduce e-licenses in 2010 and 2015, but failed to implement them. However, BMC is once again planning to launch the e-license service, which will enable pet parents to apply, obtain and renew the annual license. BMC is not alone in taking this initiative online. Last year, the civic body in New Bombay announced that they are planning to take up the e-licensing project for dogs as well.

The struggle in obtaining a dog license is faced by citizens across the country. Pet parents in Poona, Delhi, Bangalore, Mangalore and more have to face the similar cumbersome process. However, things are looking up for some cities. Bangalore, for example, witnessed an event held by its civic body wherein 235 pet parents were registered in a matter of five hours.

However, the main question still remains, what will happen if no license is obtained? In that case, if the dog is involved in any complaint with the municipal corporation, then the BMC has the right to seize the dog citing the absence of the license. This thought is enough to keep you up at night!

So let’s join our hands and paws and hope that this time the e-licensing initiative by BMC is launched soon.

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