The Most Important Aspects of Dog Laws in India That One Must Know About

In India, animal lovers who feed or care for stray dogs face incredible hostility because stray dogs are viewed as a threat. People fail to recognize the constant struggles these creatures face from the moment they are born.

Thankfully, the Indian Constitution has specific helpful dog laws and regulations to protect these amazing, affectionate animals and those working for their welfare. Let’s find out what are the dog laws in India.


Dog laws against forcefully relocating stray dogs


According to the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, enacted under the Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (A Central Act), 

It is illegal to beat, kill, chase away, displace or dislocate stray dogs. According to the stray dog laws in India, They can only be sterilized and vaccinated before being returned to their location of origin, where they were born. Having stray dogs sterilized is an excellent form of welfare since it calms them down during the mating season, preventing fights and aggression while also controlling their numbers. However, only dogs over four months of age may be sterilized.


Rule 6 of The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, explicitly states that even if the Municipal Corporation deems it is necessary to control the stray dog populations, it may not exterminate or relocate them but can only sterilize and immunize the dogs before returning them to the original locations where they were picked up.


Similarly, According to Rule 7 of The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, the Municipality cannot simply pick up dogs because some people/administrators don’t seem to like having them around. Even if a dog is reported, it can only be sterilized and immunized before being returned to the location at which it was picked up.


The stray dog law specifically prohibits dislocating dogs because it impedes and jeopardizes area-wide stray dog birth control measures. Dogs are very territorial and hence will fight off unknown, potentially unsterilized, and unvaccinated dogs, thus preventing them from entering their territories. Dislocation of street dogs has repeatedly been shown to be pointless, as it merely encourages the entry of other non-sterilized street dogs into the area, resulting in greater potential for man-animal conflict.


Dog Laws against Cruelty by Government employees: 


If any government employee commits an act of cruelty against stray dogs, he will be subject to legal action under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. In addition to punishment under the Act, he would be subject to action under the CCS (Conduct) Rules for conduct unbecoming of a Government servant.


Dog Laws against Cruelty by Resident Welfare Associations:


All problems regarding stray dogs must be handled by following the given institutional framework around stray dog laws in India. Resident associations in societies and colonies, whether recognized or unrecognized, are not allowed to take actions independently, either directly or via their employees, such as security guards.


 It’s a Crime to Intentionally starve Street Dogs.


According to stray dog laws in India, it is illegal to intentionally starve street dogs and deny them shelter under Section 11(1)(h) of the PCA Act of 1960. This can also be in the form of preventing someone from feeding stray dogs.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 What are the dog laws in India regarding Feeding street dogs?


The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Government of India, has framed exhaustive Guidelines regarding the feeding of stray dogs. These have been placed before and upheld by the High Court of Delhi. The High Court of Delhi has explicitly upheld the right of stray dogs to be fed and that of the feeders to feed them since not only is it a humane thing to do, but it also confines the dogs to their respective localities, thus facilitating area-wise sterilization and annual vaccinations.


Observing that animals have a legal right to be treated with compassion, respect, and dignity, the Delhi High Court has directed the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to designate areas for community dog feeding in the national capital in consultation with Resident Welfare Associations(RWA). The court also directed the AWBI to ensure that each RWA has an Animal Welfare Committee, stating that it is the moral responsibility of every citizen to protect animals.

The court has also instructed law enforcement agencies to ensure people feeding stray dogs in designated areas are not harassed or impeded.

However, the dogs must be fed away from densely populated areas, and caretakers should avoid feeding street dogs in places frequented by people, such as areas immediately adjacent to where children play and where people walk.

 It also stated that in the absence of caregivers or community dog feeders, RWAs or Municipal Corporations must ensure that stray dogs in every area have access to food and water.

 The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) issues IDs to those who regularly feed stray dogs.


 Stray Dog laws against Poisoning Stray Dogs


Poisoning street dogs is a criminal offense under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, and anyone caught doing so can face charges. Yet we often encounter events like in Kerala, where over 100 stray dogs were poisoned to death and dumped into waste yards in Kerala’s Thrikkakara municipality over a nearly 12-month period by a four-member gang that was allegedly acting on Thrikkakara municipality’s orders.


 Dog Laws against intentionally Harming Stray Dogs


The Indian Penal Code Sections 428 and 429 and the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 makes it illegal to maim or injure any animal. It is also against stray dog laws for vehicles to intentionally injure stray dogs on the road. Anyone caught breaking these laws can be reported to the local animal protection group and the police. A case can also be filed under the sections mentioned above.

All of the above offenses are punishable by a fine of at least Rs. 2000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years.


Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 makes it illegal to capture, incite, or bait stray dogs to harm them, and even attempting to do so is a crime.


Thus, Every Indian citizen is urged to follow the dog laws and refrain from barbaric, criminal actions against street dogs and similarly attempting to intimidate and harass those who choose to treat them compassionately.

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