Imagine getting free parking for adopting a dog – seems like a really good trade, doesn’t it?
Well, the Indian city of Shimla is doing just that. Shimla is a popular tourist destination in India as it offers plenty of beautiful sights. However, it is also the home of many stray dogs that roam the streets. In hopes of doing something about all the homeless dogs, the Shimla Municipal Corporation has come up with a plan.
In an effort to get more of these homeless pets adopted out to loving homes, the Shimla MC is offering its residents some perks in exchange for adopting the many street dogs. These perks are the waiving of garbage fees and free residential parking to citizens who adopt a stray dog. However, it does come with some rules in order to ensure that the dogs’ wellbeing is maintained. For example, if a person adopts a dog and then doesn’t take responsibility for them, they will be charged a fine of $135.36, or 10,000 Rs. as states the Times of India. Since there are almost 2,000 stray dogs in Shimla, it’s not uncommon to see packs of dogs wandering around Mall Road and the Ridge – a very popular destination for tourists in the city.
Freebies to residents of Shimla who adopt stray dogs. In Himachal Pradesh, Shimla Municipal Corporation is offering…
In September 2019, a ruling came down from the high court which decided that the Municipal Corporation of Shimla was responsible for handling the problem of the stray dogs. Furthermore, it added that the MC had a duty to provide shelter to all these homeless dogs. The high court then gave the MC a three-month time-frame to do something about the homeless dogs, but when that deadline passed and nothing was done, the issue went to the Supreme Court – where it’s still pending.
When the MC faced a shortage of animal shelters, they proposed beginning an adoption scheme that was similar to the one that was in one city in the US. Inspired by the Michigan Humane Society, a private non-profit organization, Shimla MC Commissioner Pankaj Rai explained that how they were planning to provide animal welfare services the same as the Detroit area. The Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is actually one of the oldest and biggest animal nonprofit organizations having been founded in 1877, and has the aim to “improve and save lives through compassionate care, community engagement and advocacy for animals.”
Annually, the “MHS achieves 100 percent adoption of more than 8,000 healthy and treatable animals through compassionate care, community engagement and advocacy for humane treatment.”
The organization’s website states, “MHS operates four shelter and veterinary centers in Detroit, Rochester Hills, Westland and Howell; seven adoption partnerships with Premier Pet Supply, Petco and PetSmart; and both a Cruelty Investigation Department and a Statewide Animal Response Team.”
Occasionally MHS will offer free spaying and neutering as well as affordable veterinary care for both cats and dogs. In addition, MHS has also come up with various community programs to help pet owners cope with the costs of having pets.
MHS also provides assistance to pet owners who need to rehome their pets by giving them possible options. Inspired by all the work that they do at MHS, Commissioner Rai decided it would be a great idea to imitate some of their ideas in hopes of bringing a permanent solution to the stray problem in Shimla.
Rai stated, “People interested in adopting a stray dog will have to fill up a form and enter into an agreement with the Shimla MC assuring that the animal would be given good food, medical (treatment) and care.”
Rai explained to NDTV, “Initially, this scheme was not included in the proposal. Earlier, we offered 50% off the garbage bill, but after viewing the response of the people, we thought that more people should join the adoption scheme. So, we offered free parking and exempted people from the garbage bill for adopting stray dogs, along with free registration and vaccination charge.”
A resident of Shimla, Geeta Sood, expressed her approval of the measure, saying, “The local residents have appreciated the offer and are coming forward to provide the stray dogs with shelter. Not only will the dogs get a home, while the people will be safer on the streets.”