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Who let the dogs in?

Sunday, 14 October 2012 - 8:42am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Bhavan’s College tells senior citizens to stop feeding strays on campus.

Bhavan’s College, run by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, has threatened to stop allowing senior citizens from entering the college’s grounds for morning walks if they don’t stop feeding stray dogs and birds on the premises. The college’s administrator Ramesh Bubana has complained that the animals defecate and dirty the campus. He has also pointed out that the senior citizens should be mindful because this is private property and if they wish to feed strays, they should do so elsewhere.

“Those who visit the campus don’t want to feed strays in their colony premises,” Bubana said, adding that more than 200 people come to Bhavan’s College for their walks and the college’s objection is only with those who make maintenance difficult by encouraging strays. The question of whether the walkers will be allowed to continue their animal friendships will be decided by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Activist Dr Nandini Kulkarni said, legally, no one can stop the feeding of strays and that senior citizens were appreciative of maintaining the cleanliness of the area. “We will ask those who feed the dogs to clean the poop. Also, dog food will be lifted from there. But the administrator is just not relenting”, Kulkarni said.

The college's stand has upset groups of senior citizens, who argue that they have an emotional relationship with the animals. “Feeding dogs and pigeons works as a therapy for senior citizens and we look forward every morning when we are back with the strays”, said Madhav Moolya, one of the morning walkers.

The groups of senior citizens have approached the principal of Bhavan's College and requested an intervention. NGOs like Plants and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and In Defence of Animals (IDA) have supported the senior citizens and written letters to the administrator of Bhavan's College, requesting he allow the morning walkers to continue feeding the animals. They have also pointed out that if dogs are left unattended, they may become a nuisance. Complaints against the college's stand have also been lodged with the local police.

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