The love for pets has been constantly increasing in recent times. This is because people acknowledge the benefits of having a pet in their life. Gone are the days when seeing a pet in a house was a rarity. Today, it seems to be a common trend.
Being a pet parent is a special feeling. However, it comes with its own set of challenges. Pet parents frustratingly admit how their neighbours or other people express anguish or challenged their fur babies. Most of them either bear this guilt or take the fight the wrong way.
Sometimes, it even goes to an extent that people abandon their pets. You might be wondering, what are the ways to protect your pets from these troublemakers and help pets lead a life of dignity?
Laws! You should know the country’s laws, rules, and regulations for pets, stray animals and their rights. These laws will safeguard you and your pets. The guidelines will ensure that no one can ever question your pet’s existence.
Cruelty to animals is a criminal and a punishable act under the following:
- The Indian Panel Code
- Constitution of India
- The Environment Protection Act
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
Here are some laws that prevent cruelty to animals –
Section 11 Under Cruelty to Animals Act, 19601
This law states that animal food poisoning is a punishable offence. As per this section, animal cruelty can lead to imprisonment of 3 months. Here are some actions mentioned that can attract punishment –
- Abandoning any animal in a situation where they suffer pain or starvation
- Beating, kicking, over-riding or torturing an animal such that it suffers pain
- Wilfully administering any toxic food or injurious drug to an animal such that its health gets affected
- Neglecting animal or denying them food, water, shelter, and exercise and keeping them chained or jailed for days is a punishable offence
- Also applicable to pet owners who fail to provide food, water and shelter to their pet such that their health worsens
- Inciting any animal fight is a punishable offence
Sections 428 & 429
As per sections 428 and 429, anyone found causing any injury to the animals will be punishable under this law. if anyone is found guilty of killing animals, he/she can be imprisoned for 5 years.
Section 38 under Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules
This section clearly states that sterilization and vaccination are the only way to control the population of stray animals.
This law applies to all the citizens of India. It is the responsibility of every citizen to preserve the environment, that also includes wildlife. Humans need to show compassion and kindness to all stray animals.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 19602
This is a comprehensive six-chapter act that talk about welfare of animals in the Indian constitution. It also explains the role of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in formulating and executing the laws.
AWBA Guidelines – Rights of Stray Animals & Pets
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has issued a circular that mentions the guidelines and rules for pet owners as well as the rights of pets in India.
Access to Elevators- Pets cannot be banned from entering lifts or elevators. Resident welfare owners cannot enforce any charges on pet owners for using lifts with their pets. However, pet owners can cooperate with society to use alternate lifts for pets if it is available.
Access to Parks & Gardens- According to AWBI, banning entry of pets in parks is short-sighted and strongly discouraged. It is important for pets to get regular walks and exercise to keep their physical and mental health in check. If pets are deprived of these rights, they may exhibit aggressive behaviour. Hence, it is a pet’s and pet owner’s right to go to the park at a time that does not cause inconvenience to the other visitors.
Barking Is Not a Nuisance- According to AWBI notification, barking is a natural way of expression for dogs and barking cannot be a valid reason to ban pets. However, pet parents should take efforts to keep their pets quiet, and prevent incessant barking, mainly during the nighttime.
Right to Health & Hygiene- Pets are entitled to vaccination and sterilization. Pet owners are advised to keep their pets healthy and clean.
No Enforcing of Muzzles- Pet parents should always keep their pets on a leash when walking them in public areas or in society premises. This is for the safety of pets and other residents and trespassers. However, resident owners cannot insist on the use of muzzles. Muzzles can impact dogs’ breathing, panting and eating.
Guidelines for Caregivers of Stray Dogs & Cats
Many people feed stray pets out of love and compassion. The AWBI encourages this behaviour deed and further motivates these people to take care of the health of these innocent animals. Here are some guidelines for caretakers that you should remember:
- Stray dogs and cats have the right to defecate. The caregivers cannot control the defecation habit of strays. However, they can create designated areas for these animals to relieve themselves. They should work with other caretakers or NGOs to ensure cleanliness.
- People who feed stray animals are also advised to take part in animal vaccination, sterilization and other medical care. This will improve the health of these pets, generate positivity among citizens and improve the acceptability of dogs and cats.
- If you feed a dog or cat daily, be cognizant of the area where you feed them. Avoid feeding street dogs and cats immediately next to areas where children play or senior citizens take a walk or exercise.
- While feeding dogs, ensure optimal cleanliness and hygiene of that place. Feeding should not lead to littering and dirtying of the feeding site. You should clean up the site once the feeding is over.
At a time when animosity and cruelty towards animals is prevalent and have set dangerous examples, these rules offer a ray of hope. These rules also caution people to not harm animals, to respect their lives and spread love.