Some of you might find my title too dramatic, but being an ardent animal lover who witnesses cruelty towards animals daily, specially the stray dogs I genuinely feel they are mistreated and terribly neglected. If properly used, the law can be your most effective weapon against animal exploitation. India has one of the most comprehensive set of animal protection laws in the world. There are detailed codes of conduct governing our use and treatment of both domestic and wild animals. In fact, India is unique in the fact that animal protection is enshrined in our constitution and every citizen is required to show compassion to all living beings. Unfortunately, in spite of the importance accorded to animal protection by our founding fathers, animal protection laws have remained mere pieces of paper because either people do not know how to use it or are not aware of the law at all.
How many are even aware of the basic laws for animal rights?
Domestic animals & Pets
Beating or causing any animal pain or suffering by the owner or any other person should be reported to the police. The penalty is a fine of Rs 100/-or jail up to three months or both.
Caging or confining an animal in a cage or enclosure too small to allow reasonable movement. The penalty is a fine of Rs 100 and jail up to 3 months or both.
Tying with a short or very heavy chain. The penalty is a fine of Rs 100 and up to 3 months in jail or both.
Keeping the animal constantly confined or tied for extended periods thereby denying it the opportunity to exercise. Punishable with a fine of RS 100/- and up to 3 months in jail or both.
Failure to provide sufficient food and water to a pet animal. Penalty is a fine of RS 100/- and up to 3 months in jail or both.
Failure to provide proper shelter. This means failure to provide protection from the external environment e.g. leaving a dog out in the rain or cold. Penalty is a fine of RS 100/- and up to 3 months in jail or both.
Maiming or injuring an animal in any way or any surgical or invasive procedure without anaesthesia. This would include ear or tail docking is a cognisable offence under Section 428/429 of the Indian Penal Code. The penalty is a fine and up to 5 years in jail.
According to section 11 of the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act 1960 it is illegal to put out poisoned food as these could pose a serious health hazard. Also it is illegal to transport any animal in any manner that will cause it unnecessary suffering. This includes loading cows into trucks without ramps and overcrowding the vehicle, tying up pigs and carrying them on cycles and so on. All violations of Section 11 are punishable with a fine of Rs 100 and /or up to 3 months in jail. Section 428/429 of the Indian Penal Code makes it a cognizable offence to maim or cause injury to any animal. Citizens can report any such nuisance to the Municipal authorities. I request you all to please do so. The High Courts of Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Mumbai, and several other states have specifically forbidden the killing of stray dogs and directed the municipality to introduce a sensible sterilisation programme instead. Stray animals cannot be used for research. Rules for Experimental Animals as formulated by The Committee for the Control and Supervision of Experimental Animals has laid down that only animals bred for the purpose of research by institutes registered by the Committee may be used for experimentation. Therefore it is illegal for any medical, educational or commercial research institute to pick up stray animals either from the street or from the municipal pound for this purpose.
So the next time you see a poor stray dog on the road instead of ignoring it or being afraid and running away try feeding it, or probably contact the blue cross or any NGO for animals if it is injured. All they require is love and care.
The writer has completed her studies in law and is a passionate animal lover.