Animal laws in India to protect the strays & pets

animal laws in india - stray dogs
Animal laws in India

Unfortunate as it is, most of the Indian streets are riled with blatant apathy towards animal lives. The callousness in civic societies is far worse – where a handful of humans who care for the stray animals are often met with unbelievable ridicule and resistance.

It is not that there aren’t animal laws in India – but the ineptness to implement them and the severity of punishment leaves them crippled.

It is a fundamental duty upon every citizen of India to protect wildlife and have compassion for all living creatures.

Article 51A(G), Indian Constitution

Here are some laws put forth in the constitution to uphold the rights of the voiceless and activists who work towards animal welfare.

Animal Laws in India to protect stray dogs

Stray dogs are protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960, and rules enacted under Section 38 of the act, particularly, the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001; Indian Penal Code, sections 428 & 429 and Article 51A (g) of the Constitution.

  1.  Street dogs cannot be beaten, killed or driven away or displaced or dislocated, they can only be sterilized in the manner envisaged in The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, vaccinated, and then returned back to their original locations. The stray dogs can be sterilized only when they’ve attained the age of at least 4 months and not before that.
  2.  Killing, maiming, poisoning or rendering useless of any animal is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years or with fine or with both, under Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  3. As per Section 11 (i) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 abandoning an animal, leaving it in a situation that it suffers pain due to starvation or thirst, is a punishable offence.
  4. The Delhi High Court states that there are no laws that prohibit people from feeding stray animals. It is a crime to threaten, abuse or harass neighbours who feed animals. (Section 506)
animal rights laws in India
Feeding strays is within the laws and it helps confine them to one particular area that they belong to thus helping administer efficient birth control and vaccination.

See Also: India bans the import of dogs for breeding

Your rights to pet ownership – RWA

Pet ownership comes with a set of responsibilities – not only to the pet but to the neighbours too. RWA can place reasonable requests like – allotting pet corners, defecation rules, asking for regular vaccinations etc. As long as you are not causing a nuisance, you have a right to keep a pet.

RWA cannot ask you to disown your pet.

If you feel threatened or targeted because of keeping a pet – you can do the following: 

RWA can’t make laws on their whims to disallow pet companionship.

  1. Reach out to local SPCA or any other animal welfare organization. They will usually talk to the RWA and make them understand the laws – it should end there.
  2. You can file a complaint with the nearest local police station under Section 428, 429 IPC (Indian Penal Code) if the RWA is not cooperative.
  3. You may contact the Animal Welfare Board of India in case your pet or any other animal is under threat. 
  4. You can reach out to Ms Meneka Gandhi. Mention the registered address of the RWA and fax number if any. A letter from official MP letterhead usually knocks some sense into RWAs.
  5. The Registrar of Societies (RoS) can take action against or even dissolve an RWA for its unwarranted approach towards a pet-owning family. 
  6. Action can be initiated against RWA members under Section 2 (1)(g) of the Consumers Protection Act. (District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum)

Animals laws to protect pets

The Animal Protection (Dogs) Rules, 2001 provide for rules relating to pet and street dogs.

  1. Keeping, or confining any animal chained for long hours with a heavy chain or chord amounts to cruelty on the animal and punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 3 months or both.
  2. If an owner fails to provide its pet with sufficient food, drink or shelter, he/she shall be liable for punishment according to section 11 (1) (h) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is a punishable offence.
  3. Any person who, without any reasonable cause, abandons an animal in such a situation where the animal is bound to suffer pain due to starvation or thirst- Section 11 (i)
  4. Any owner of an animal who consciously allows an infected, diseased or disabled animal to go into any street without any permit or leave the animal to die in any street- Section 11 (j)
  5. Any person intimidating another person and preventing him/her, who is the owner of a pet, from keeping or taking care of his/her pet can be held liable under Section 503 of the IPC.
stray dog protection laws in india
Getting dogs sterilized helps keep the stray population under control.

On March 12, 2020, World Animal Protection released the 2nd edition of global Animal Protection Index (API) 2020, where India gained C grade on a scale of A-G.

India animal protection laws
Whenever someone buys a pup, he/she knowingly or unknowingly put to motion the cycle of breeders and puppy mills. For breeders, a litter of pups is often just ‘business’.
Adopt, don’t shop!

While societies may have dog lovers, dog haters and those who don’t really care – amicable ways to drive awareness for animal laws can really help bridge the gap. Any aggression or hostility that the dogs may be subjected to, will only render them aggressive, and hostile to humans.

How to use Animal laws?

If you come across a situation which is in violation of animal rights, you can either send a legal notice to the individual/group of animal abusers yourself through a lawyer or report the matter to an NGO which would do that for you. In case no action is being taken by the abuser even after sending the notice, you can file an official complaint.

Here’s a list of NGOs in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune that you may reach out to.

To ensure that authorities actually take action, please seek help from NGOs – many of them have legal outreach and it helps move the machinery. You may also reach out to journalists over social media – similarly politicians or higher authorities (unfortunately that’ how the cookie crumbles sometimes).

Try raising awareness in your neighbourhoods and societies – strays can also be trained to be guard dogs. Along with colony guards, they can provide an additional security cover.

While the severity of punishment(s) is still not that harsh and needs to be revisited real soon, one can hope that animal laws act as a deterrent to those who try to take the law in hand. We hope that awareness regarding these laws would help people to report and stand up for the animals.

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See Alicia Souza’s delightful world of dogs & doodles!

Alicia Souza dog lover
Alicia Souza with her adopted son ‘Charlie’ aka ‘Charles-Brown Whimperbug Souza’, the canine star of many of her illustrations.
We dogs are delighted to present this interview Alicia Souza ― dog lover, ace artist and an overall wonderful human being on how dogs inspire her illustrations.

Alicia Souza’s keen observations on everyday life and the ink renditions that they inspire have a happy tribe following her. If you are one of them, like us, you would have seen the adorable doodles featuring her pets – Charlie, the dog and Henry Oats, the guinea pig.

Her musings on – pets, couples, friendships, and Bangalore have not only fueled a business spanning artwork, merchandise – notebooks, fridge magnets, phone covers, home decor, and even books but also inspired people to adopt instead of buying pets. She also holds merchandise sales to help drive proceeds towards animal welfare organizations in Bangalore like Charlie Animal rescue centre.

Many of us were first introduced to her quirky illustrations via Chumbak merchandise, a brand that she co-founded. Post parting ways with it, she started afresh and curated her own namesake brand, Ms Cat calls her ‘the queen of cute’ and she isn’t off-target as cats so often are. The ace illustrator has also collaborated with brands like Google, Yahoo, Dove, Infosys and many more.

Alicia Souza dog art

Dog interviews Alicia Souza

Doggo: We are absolutely enthralled to see dogs feature prominently in your works. Could you please take us through a brief history of pets in your life and spill the beans on that one artistic doggo who introduced you to the crayons?

Alicia Souza: So I’ve like drawing as much as any other kid, but I’ve ALWAYS loved animals way more than most kids I knew. I’ve always had a pet but because I was brought up in small spaces, they were small- turtles, birds (sadly), and guinea pigs. Charlie was my first dog and he came into my life a few months after I moved to India, about 10 years ago!

Alicia Souza Charlie
Alicia Souza adopted Charlie, her first dog, who a friend had picked from the streets.

Doggo: Growing up, did books where animals talk, one of your favourites? Do you still revisit them?

Alicia Souza: Yes and no. I loved animal books but I don’t recall me favouring them more than other books. Mind you, now I love illustrating animal books way more than others.

Doggo: Please tell us about ‘Dogs in The bottom’, how it came to be? And are there any plans in the pipeline for it?

Alicia Souza: haha if you’re referring to the ‘dogs wearing pants’ series of watercolour illustrations I’ve started, it’s just something silly I started working on with no real plans in mind.

Alicia Souza dogs wearing pants

But I can see it working out to be a series where I possibly can make something out of it. But I’d need to paint a lot more, something I sadly don’t have as much time for as I’d like.

Doggo: Charlie, the adorable pooch who graces your Instagram, what’s his story?

Charlie was picked off the road, as a wandering pup at about 6 months old. He was given to me and honestly, I never had plans of adopting a dog because I just had a lot on my plate. But my life changed swiftly around him after that. He was the sweetest, no-fuss pup and still is a no-fuss dog.

He’s pretty much a part of me!

Alicia Souza dog love art

Doggo: If you were a dog drawing Alicia, what do you think it would be like?

Alicia Souza: A smiling Indie dog.

be kind to stray cartoon

Doggo: From Henry-oats to Charlie, how pets inspire you in your craft – is it ever like that you seem at their antics, and voila!

Alicia Souza: I get inspiration from things happening around me or people I meet. Because I work primarily from home, my boys are always my companions, which means I tend to draw about them a lot more. They are also ridiculously cute, so that helps 🙂

Alicia Souza indie dog art

Doggo: We strive to find homes for abandoned and stray dogs, unfortunately, the inquiries that #desidogs attract are significantly less as compared to the pedigree. Is there a message (story, creative) from you that we may feature to inspire people watching from the fence.

Alicia Souza: I’ve done SO many stories, drawings etc about adopting. Even if it means adopting abandoned pedigree dogs because now sadly, people are disposing of dogs like they are plastic bags. It’s dreadful.

stray dog art Alicia Souza
be kind to the indie dogs.

Indies are such a great breed that it’s amazing how people don’t realise it. And they are so hardy, super smart and just great dogs! I have a big soft corner for people who adopt indies. I think they are the smartest and kindest of the lot.

See also: What makes indies the best dog for an Indian family

Alicia Souza dog adoption
Adopt don't shop India

And mustn’t you forget to cuddle the dog (ok, cat too!)

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