Over years, there has been a revolution in the attitude of people about pet dogs and stray dogs. People are very compassionate towards the animals, identified or unidentified. Also, there has been a rapid increase in pet dogs since 2015, in India.  

Amid all of the positive responses, we are encountering cases and incidents about non-animal lovers and their cruel behavior towards the voiceless beings. A sharp increase in the harassment towards both the dog owners and dogs has created concerns widely. 

In this article, we will talk about all of the laws and rules that are listed by the Animal Welfare Board of India – AWBI, the advisory body for the Government of India regarding animal safety.  

The guidelines were revised in February 2015 to add emphasis on our constitution’s one of the major Fundamental Duties, under Article 51(g), to show compassion to all living creatures. The board has issued these to three categories of people – pet owners, caregivers and Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) and Apartment Owners’ Associations (AOA) 

Pet owners: 

  1. Pet owners can rightfully consider their pets as family members and must continue to provide care and love throughout the pet’s lives. But owners should ensure to not cause inconvenience to others. Also, it states that no amount should push them to abandon their pets, and doing so will lead to lawful actions.  
  1. Barking, a natural form of expression in dogs should be tolerated by society. But dog owners must try to keep their dogs calm during night hours.  
  1. Pet owners should take adequate actions to keep their pets healthy and clean. Vaccination schedules must be checked and sterilization is advised.  
  1. Pet owners must be conscious to clean up if their pet defecates in public spaces. They can get in touch with RWA’s to find solutions for maintaining cleanliness, but cannot be imposed on anybody.  
  1. Leashing your pet in public places is not mandatory but doing so will assure passers-by a sense of safety and comfort. This also reduces the risk of accidents with pets.  
  1. RWAs or AOAs cannot debar pet dogs from using lift or elevators facilities.  
  1. Any human displaying cruelty on animals, and is bitten by the dog, shall be held accountable. Harassment against dogs is a serious crime. 

Recently, caregivers and animal activists are facing various issues while feeding or helping stray dogs in general. They are either being physically harassed or restricted from extending help. Hence, AWBI has also included certain rules that could protect and guide the people. 

Care-givers of Street Dogs: 

  1. Caregivers can feed stray and ownerless animals. The board encourages them to participate in sterilization and vaccination of those dogs. Else, they can provide or get assistance from animal welfare organisations for help. 
  1. Caregivers are advised to not feed stray dogs which are away from their place of residence, crowded or children-friendly areas. Feeding must be done in cleaner place and should ensure to maintain it that way after feeding is over. 
  1. Sharing the sterilization and vaccination status of stray dogs with RWA and AOAs will help generate positivity and acceptability of dogs in the area.  
  1. Caregivers cannot control the defecation habits of strays but they can try initiating methods to maintain cleanliness.  
  1. Caregivers should not be intimidated or harassed; it is a serious case of violation. 

Guidelines for RWA and AOA: 

  1. Ban on keeping of pet dogs is illegal. Even with majority of votes in the society, RWAs and AOAs cannot ask the dogs to leave, unless the pet owner is a violator of municipal or other laws. Barking cannot be cited as a reason.  
  1. No fine/penalty can be imposed on pet dogs for using lift services. They cannot restrict them too. 
  1. Pets can use the gardens and parks. If it is making the residents uncomfortable, separate timings can be incorporated.  
  1. RWAs and AOA cannot impose rules and fines for defecation of dogs in the society. But they can work with the pet owners to create pet defecation areas.  
  1. No association can force pet owners to leash their dogs in public or ask for penalty for this. Pet owners are already advised by AWBI on this topic.  
  1. Intimidating dogs or a pet owner to abandoning a pet could lead to serious legal trouble. Refrain from cruelty towards pets and ownerless animals.  

The punishments for violating the above-mentioned guidelines could be serious from penalties to imprisonment. Under Section 11 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, any person who indulges in animal cruelty can be booked under a case for various reasons. If any individual is found not following the laws and rules against pet animals and stray animals, they could be reported under sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code.

To know more about the acts and the guidelines, check here.

The next time if anyone insults you or your pet, or tries to bring harm to your pets, exercise your rights. Know your basic rights and educate your surrounding for a comfortable lifestyle.