Circular issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India, stating the lawful and unlawful aspects of dealing with Pet Dogs and Street Dogs

News Report on the 20th February 2014 dated Circular issued by Animal Welfare Board of India

News Report on the 20th February 2014 dated Circular issued by Animal Welfare Board of India

The Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has come out with a revised Circular dated 20th February 2014, that clearly states what is lawful and unlawful with regard to the treatment of street dogs and pet dogs, by residents as well as Resident Welfare Associations (RWA), Apartment Owners’ Associations, Cooperative Group Housing Societies etc.

Why is this circular important and how should you be using it? 

  • This circular assumes importance because everyday, we as well as the Board receives numerous complaints from pet dog owners and street dog caretakers about the RWAs either putting restrictions on them for having pets, use of lifts or by pets or harassing street dog caretakers and/or attempting to harm/dislocate street dogs.
  • So, now with this Circular in your hand, the next time you, being a pet owner or a street animal caretaker, face an unruly RWA with misplaced intent of harassing you or the animals you care for, please argue your case and educate your RWA representatives by sharing this Circular and its contents with them.
  • The law is on the side of you and your dogs, so please do not succumb to any pressure or harassment and let go of your dogs.
  • The same circular, if required for may also be extrapolated for street cats and pet cats, though there is no Government run programme yet for Sterilization of Stray cats; but then Cats also have as much of a right as Street Dogs to live on the streets where they are born and belong.
  • Download this Circular by clicking here and keep a print out of the same handy with you.

AWBI Circular dated 20 Feb 2014_Page 1 AWBI Circular dated 20 Feb 2014_Page 2

The full text of the Circular is shared below:

Dated: 20th February 2014

TO WHOMSOEVER THIS MAY CONCERN

SUBJECT: PET DOGS AND STREET DOGS –THE ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA’S REVISED CIRCULAR

This Circular is being issued in place of an earlier Circular on this subject dated, 1st February 2014. It seeks to supplement what was earlier issued and to add to it; and the circular of 1st February 2014 stands hereby withdrawn.

The Board is acting in response to several requests received, to lend clarity and provide answers to recurring vexed questions. What I state below, is based on inputs received from the Board’s legal members and lawyers, on the correct position in law with regard to various aspects concerning pet dogs and street dogs.

The issuance of this circular has also been necessitated because it is well known that in recent times, RWA’s, Apartment owners’ association cooperative group housing societies and other gated complexes have taken to imposing many unreasonable restriction on pet owning resident such as disallowing the use of lifts or park by pets or even banning pets altogether. They’re also known to frequently encourage mistreatment, dislocation and dumping of street dogs. Moreover, compassionate persons that wish to tend to and feed street dog are often discouraged, and pressurized to refrain from doing so. There is widespread resentment against these moves, which apart from being unreasonable, are also unlawful and against recent court rulings.

As an RWA or an apartment owners’ association group housing society, gated complex, etc. you may often be getting complaints regarding street dogs, and requests that they be driven away, through beating by security guards or otherwise, or just dumped elsewhere. If you accede to these requests, you will not only be violating laws and pronouncements of courts, but also, you will not achieve any permanent solution either. The problem will become perennial; and you will also run afoul of animal welfare people that are increasing in number by the day, and banding themselves into well organized groups.

Set out below. Are some Dos, and Don’ts, with respect to PET DOGS & STREET DOGS

  1. WITH RESPECT TO PET DOGS & PET OWNING RESIDENTS: what you (i.e. the RWA/residents) CANNOT do:-

 BANNING pets, whether allowed:        

a)      Even by obtaining consensus, or even if the majority of the residents want it. You cannot legally introduce any sort of ‘ban’ on the keeping of pet dogs by resident/s. You cannot insist that ‘small sized’ dog is acceptable, and ‘large sized’ dogs are not. You cannot cite dog barking as a valid and compelling reason for any ban sought to be introduced by you.

b)      Even by amending bye-laws or regulation or otherwise such a ‘ban’ cannot be put into place since it is illegal, and does not have the sanction of law in fact, in trying to ’ban” pets or limit their number, you interfere with a fundamental freedom guaranteed to the citizens of India i.e. the freedom to choose the life they wish to live, which includes facets such as living with or without companion animal.

c)      If the resident that have pets are not violating any municipal or other laws, you cannot object. The general body cannot frame or amend bye-laws that are at variance with the laws of the country. Even by a complete majority, a general body cannot adopt an illegality. Please remember, you, as an RWA, do not have the right to legislate and ‘lay ‘ down for residents, and apartment owners or even tenants.

d)      Use of LIFTS by pets: There are court rulings to the effect that pets cannot be disallowed  from the use of lifts; and no charge can be imposed either, by housing societies for the use of lifts by pets. One court is in fact known  to have  observed that dogs are family, and can use lifts by pets for free please ensure that this sort of restriction is not therefore imposed- neither a ban, nor any special charges for the use of lifts by pets.

e)      Use of PARK by pets:  Banning pets from garden from park is short-sighted. Firstly, you may or may not own the garden or park in question. Pets that are not properly exercised may show aggression in frustration; and that surely, cannot contribute to the benefit of the residents. It may be better to fix timing when pets can be walked without inconvenience to other residents. These timings can then be intimated to the general body.

f)       Use of leashes/muzzles by pet owners, defecation by pets in community premises, imposition of fines and other similar measure: You can request pet owners to keep their pets in leash, when walking them in common areas. You cannot however insist on the use of muzzles. Please remember, the law already provides the penalties for negligent pet owners, which the aggrieved parties can avail of.

g)      In the absence of central or state laws requiring cleaning of pet excreta by pet owners, you cannot impose any rule, regulation or bye –law, with respect to mandatory cleaning of the same, or impose special charges or fines on pet owners. You can, of course, request them to do so.

h)      You can also experiment with the creation of various pet defecation areas within community premises. These can be imaginatively spaced out within the precincts, and you can request pet owners to train their pet into using the same. You cannot however impose fines and special charges of any kind of pet owners, because there is no mandate in law for the same.

i)       Intimidation:  Lastly, please also always bear in mind that if any association succeeds in intimidating a pet owner into ‘giving up’ or’ abandoning’ a pet, it will actually have abetted violation of law; and may well be aggravating the menace of ownerless animal on the street, that are not accustomed to living on street and therefore get involved in the lead to accidents, injuries and deaths. Please also bear in mind that intimidation is an offence in law.

  1. WITH RESPECT TO STREET DOGS: what you (i.e. the RWA/residents) CANNOT do:

a)      Beating and driving away street dogs, is NOT ALLOWED; Animal Birth Control and release back into same locality/territory, is ALLOWED: As per Indian law street dogs (i. e. stray dogs) cannot be beaten or driven away or dumped elsewhere or killed. They can merely be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, vaccinated and then returned back to their original locations. For the area-wise sterilization program that the law mandates shall be followed, dogs have to be returned back to their original habitat after sterilization and immunization.

b)      The rationale behind release back of street dogs into the same locality/territory after sterilization and vaccination: Dogs, being territorial in nature, tend to fight off other dogs. And keep them from entering their territories; and in the manner, the dog population in each territory/ within each locale stabilizes.

c)      Street dog feeding, whether inside or outside community premises and gated complexes: there is no law that prohibits the feeding of street animal. Citizen who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast  upon them by the Constitution of India – of showing compassion to all living creatures Various Court including High Courts have upheld street dog feeding since the same reduces human – animal  conflict and suspicion, and facilitates animal birth control (by making dog catching easier).

d)      Animal cruelty:  please also note, animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, and Section 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code – punishable with imprisonment and fine.

e)      Intimidation: Attempts to interfere with, or harass persons who choose to tend to and feed community dogs maybe tantamount to the very grave offence criminal intimidation.

f)       Aggression to dogs counter productive: Last but not the least; any aggression or hostility that the dogs may be subjected to will only render them aggressive, and hostile to humans. They may then resort to snapping and biting in self defence. If the same happens, the human aggressors shall be the only to blame.

Please bear in mind that the Board (Animal Welfare Board of India) vide the present Circular, is merely setting out what is lawful, and what is unlawful, on the subject of treatment or mistreatment of pet dogs and street dogs.

Signed

Dr. R.M. Kharb, Maj. Gen. (Retd.), AVSM

Chairman, Animal Welfare Board of India

Noida Federation instructions to Resident Welfare Associations regarding lawful manner of dealing with street dogs

After the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon’s directive to Presidents of all Gurgaon-based Residential Welfare Associations (RWAs) to stop harassing people/residents who have pets and tend to street dogs, comes the below mentioned letter issued by Federation of Noida Resident Welfare Associations to all its member RWAs in Noida, apprising them on the lawful manner of dealing with street dogs and the people who tend to them, feed them, get them sterilized and vaccinated.

So, for all those of you who stay in Noida and are being harassed by your respective RWA for feeding and tending to street dogs, please take note of this important letter, download it from the link below and use it to fight your case for the animals you care for.

Download by clicking here Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding lawful manner of dealing with street dogs

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 1 of the letter

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 1 of the letter

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 2 of the Letter

Noida Federation instructions to RWAs regarding street dogs_Page 2 of the Letter

Please also read:

Gurgaon Municipal Corporation’s Directive to Presidents of Residential Welfare Societies to stop harassing people who have pets and tend to street dogs

To all those of you who are being harassed by their neighbourhood for tending to animals….

Please remember that for the animals, if not for yourself, you need to be strong and fight this out.

While you can approach local animal welfare organisations or animal activists, but in the end, it is a fight you will have to fight on your own, for yourself and the animals you care for…

  • If talking to people and explaining them the below mentioned laws and constitutional provisions doesn’t help, then, whether you like it or you don’t, you need to approach the Police and file an F.I.R or Police Complaint against all the people who are harassing you, abusing you, threatening to kill/harm you/your property and the dogs/other animals you care for.
  • Be sure to mention full names and addresses of all the people who are harassing you and give complete true account of the matter, without exaggerating facts – take help of the points stated below to put your grievances and facts across and mention why you are seeking help from the Police and reporting this matter.
  • There is no law that prohibits feeding of street animals, and citizens who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India. Persons, who are trying to interfere with their effort, or display aggression, can be held liable for having committed the offense described in the Indian Penal Code and criminal intimidation.
  • Moreover, as per Indian law, street dogs cannot be beaten or driven away. They can merely be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001(Rules under Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960), vaccinated, and then returned back to their original locations.
  • If your municipality is not doing the same, you can file a Police Complaint or FIR against the local Municipal Corporation for flouting the laws and rules mentioned above, which need to be complied with throughout the country, as PCA Act is a Central Act, i.e. it is applicable across the country and the local Police has been mandated with the responsibility of enforcing this act and reporting/booking violations/offenders.

Constitutional provisions:

  • Article 51A of the Constitutional Law of India, speaks about the duties of every citizen of India. One of these duties includes having compassion for living creatures (Article 51 A (g) of the Indian Constitution). Those who look after animals and other creatures of God are thus protected under the Constitution.

 

  • Article 19 of the Constitution of India, deals with right to freedom and in this freedom are included the right to profession, occupation, trade and business. Therefore, it means that every citizen has the right to occupation and if someone has taken the caring of animals as his occupation, it is legal and he has every right to carry on with his occupation.

Legal provisions:

In a Judgment passed by the Delhi Court, it has been stated that the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Municipal Authorities have in the guidelines issued by them specified the problem often faced by individuals and families who adopt and feed stray animals. The court says that it is necessary to bring into record that these individuals and families who adopt stray animals are doing a great service to humanity as they are acting in the aid and assistance of Municipal Authorities by providing these animals with food and shelter and also by getting them vaccinated and sterilized. Without assistance of such persons no local Municipal Authority can successfully carry out its ABC programme. The Court has proceeded to say that the local police and the municipal authorities are under obligation not only to encourage such adoption but also to ensure protection to such persons who come forward to take care of these animals specifically the community or neighbourhood dogs so that they are not subjected to any kind of cruelty, finally, the Court has said that every individual has the right to live his life in the manner he wants and it is necessary that the society and the community recognize it.

  • If you are a woman/girl who is being abused/harassed/threatened by neighbours/people around for being kind to animals, please also note that you can lodge F.I.Rs against these people Under Section 509 of Indian Penal Code (U/S 509 of IPC) – which is a cognizable offence.
  • Under the Govt. of India, Animal Birth Control Rules 2001 (drafted under the Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960), no sterilized dogs can be relocated from their area. As per five different High Court orders, sterilized dogs have to remain in their original areas. If the dog is not sterilized, the Society can simply ask an animal welfare organization to sterilize and vaccinate the dog. They cannot relocate them. Relocation is not permissible, as it would cause more problems such as an increase in dog bites as new dogs will move into the area who are unfamiliar with residents and therefore more likely to be hostile. All problems of stray animals have to be handled within the institutional framework available. No association, recognized or unrecognized, shall take recourse to any action regarding stray animals on their own, either themselves or through any person employed by them like security guards. While residents and Associations are free to address institutional agencies for redressal of grievances in this matter, no resident/association will interfere with the freedom of other residents in caring and attending animals.
  • Section 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 forbids the displacement of Animals from its natural environment into an environment that is hostile to it, where the animal may be injured/hurt/maimed or killed due to lack of food or fights with other animals. Also, please remember that Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 is a Central Act, i.e. it is applicable throughout the country and the powers to enforce this law have been given to the Local Police.
  • Additionally, Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code also provides for imprisonment and fine, in cases involving animal cruelty. Section 429 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860, a Central Government Act, reads as follows:

“Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal of the value of fifty rupees.– Whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless, any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow or ox, whatever may be the value thereof, of any other animal of the value of fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment or either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.”

Following are some of the self-explanatory documents that one can look up and refer to:

1. A 2 page circular issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances, and Training, on the aspect of street animal feeding and prohibits central government employees from harassing street dogs or those feeding/looking after them.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/public-grievances-circular-pg-1.jpg

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/public-grievances-circular-pg-2.jpg

2. The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/the-animal-birth-control-dogs-rules-2001.pdf

3. A directive issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India, constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests- provides immunity to animal feeders and restricts RWAs from harassing people tending to dogs.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/awbi-direction.pdf

4. M.C.D. (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) notification, showing the approach of the M.C.D. with regard to street animals, which is based on the law of the land.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/mcd-notices-toi-march-2009.jpg

5. A Times of India news report regarding a Delhi High Court direction to the police to protect persons who feed stray dogs.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/times-of-india-article-on-feeding.pdf

6. A Hindustan Times news report regarding the view taken by the Supreme Court regarding stray dogs.

http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ht-article-24th-jan-supreme-court-stays-bombay-high-court-order.jpg

7. An order passed by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/addln-chief-metropolitan-magistrates-order-on-street-dogs-of-india.pdf

8. A Dossier of Indian Street Dog related laws and court rulingshttp://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/a-dossier-of-indian-street-dog-related-laws-and-court-rulings.pdf and Copies of other court judgments can be downloaded from http://www.strays.in/index.php/legal-precedence-faqs-judgements-court-cases-drafts/

9. Reporting a crime and lodging an F.I.R or Police Complaint-

http://jaagruti.org/2013/12/13/reporting-a-crime-all-about-lodging-an-f-i-r-with-the-police/

If you want awareness workshops held in your company or Institution on the subject of animal laws and welfare, for audience in any age-group, please write to us on contact@jaagruti.org

The law on pet owners in apartments

The Hindu published the following article on the laws pet owners have to keep animals in their houses

With apartment complexes becoming the norm, it becomes important for pet owners to understand their rights and responsibilities, for the welfare of their pets and their neighbours. Residents sometimes find a letter taped to the notice board (on behalf of the Apartment Association) that says that pets are banned and that owners must either vacate or abandon their pets.

“This is tantamount to harassment, and utterly unlawful,”says Anjali Sharma, Advocate, practising at the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court of India, who is an Executive Committee Member of, and Legal Advisor to the Animal Welfare Board of India. “Apartment owners’ associations and residents’ welfare associations cannot ‘legislate’. They cannot take it upon themselves to issue ‘edicts’ and restrict rights available to citizens. There is no law enacted by Parliament or any State Legislature that ‘bans’ companion animals. At best, municipalities and local authorities can regulate, or insist on registration or licensing of pets. These high handed circulars and letters suddenly taped to notice boards are therefore illegal. By pressurizing people to abandon their pets in this manner, they actually compel them to violate the law, since Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, declares the same as being an offence.

She notes that consumer courts at Mumbai have at least on two occasions upheld the rights of residents faced with similar harassment, and observed that in the present times, pets are akin to children. Denying pet-owners the right to use elevators or common areas with their pets has been held to be deficiency in service on the part of these associations. She therefore urges pet-owners to stand by their companion animals in the face of such harassment, and refuse to ‘give them up’, or abandon them.

These rights, however, do come with duties. Pet-owners must earn the goodwill of neighbours by keeping their dogs on leash while in common areas and cleaning up after them if they soil the place. Sharma tells pet owners that being considerate is a must, and a basic courtesy. “Be reasonable”, is her simple, yet powerful advice to pet owners. “Exercise care. Ensure that their vaccinations are always up to date. And always walk your dog with a leash”. She signs off with the advice that being a responsible pet parent is important to ensure harmony in community living.

Gurgaon Municipal Corporation’s Directive to Presidents of Residential Welfare Societies to stop harassing people who have pets and tend to street dogs

Below are embedded image files/scans of a 3 page letter issued by Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon to Presidents of all RWAs in Gurgaon to stop harassing people who tend to street dogs and those who have pets (by passing unlawful dictats of banning pet dogs). Please use it to contest against your respective RWA’s who come out with weird aristocratic bye-laws on the same.

You can download all these pages combined together as  PDF File by clicking on the link below.

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012 (http://jaagrutiindia.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/gurgaon-municipal-corporation-directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012.pdf)

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012_Page 1

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-street-dogs_2012_Page 1

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012_Page 2

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-street-dogs_2012_Page 2

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-stray-dogs_2012_Page 3

Gurgaon-Municipal-Corporation-Directive-regarding-pet-dogs-and-street-dogs_2012_Page 3

Suggested reading:

For all yours reference again, please click the link below to the Notice issued by a battery of lawyers to a Gurgaon based RWA that came out with an absurd ruling to ban people from having pets.

Legal notice issued to Kanchanjunga Coop.Group Housing Society at Gurgaon 

Also, please refer to this page on the website of Pet Parents Association.

Pet Dogs and Street Dogs: Do’s and Dont’s

Below is an article written by Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, who is the Chairperson of an organisation called, ‘People for Animals’. We happened to receive a copy of it in our Inbox from a fellow animal rescuer and deem it wise to share it on this blog of ours, since a lot of our helpline calls and e-mails are related to this subject.

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In recent times, RWAs, Apartment Owners’ Associations, and Cooperative Group Housing Societies, having taking to imposing various restrictions on pet owning residents, such as disallowing the use of lifts, or parks, by pets, or even banning pets altogether. There is widespread resentment against these moves, because not only do they unreasonably restrict the rights of residents, they are also unlawful and against recent court rulings.

Moreover, as an RWA, or an Apartment Owners’ Association, Cooperative Group Housing Society, gated complex, etc., you may often be getting complaints regarding street dogs, and requests that they be driven away, through beatings by security guards or otherwise, or just dumped elsewhere. If you accede to these requests, you will not only be violating laws and pronouncements of courts, but will not achieve any permanent solutions either. The problem will remain a perennial problem ; and you will also run afoul of animal welfare people that are increasing in number by the day, and banding themselves into well organized groups.

Below, are some DOs and DON’Ts, with respect to both, PET DOGS & STREET DOGS.

I.          WITH RESPECT TO PET DOGS & PET OWNING RESIDENTS :Please keep in mind that the following is what you CANNOT do :-

 BANNING pets, whether allowed :

a)     Even by obtaining consensus, or even if the majority of the residents want it, you cannot legally introduce any sort of ‘ban’ on the keeping of pet dogs by residents.

b)     Even by amending bye-laws or regulations or otherwise, such a ‘ban’ cannot be put into place since it is illegal, and does not have the sanction of law. In fact, in trying to ‘ban’ pets, or limit their number, you interfere with a fundamental freedom guaranteed to the citizens of India, i.e. the freedom to choose the life they wish to live, which includes facets such as living with or without companion animals.

c)    If the residents that have pets are not violating any municipal or other laws, you cannot object. The general body cannot frame or amend bye-laws that are at variance with the laws of the country. Even by a complete majority, a general body cannot adopt an illegality. Please remember, you do not have the right to legislate, and ‘lay down law’ for residents, and apartment owners or even tenants.

Use of LIFTS by pets :

d)    There is a court ruling to the effect that pets cannot be disallowed from the use of lifts ; and no charges can be imposed either, by housing societies for the use of lifts by pets. In fact, it was widely reported in the news that the concerned court had ruled that “Dogs are family, can use lifts for free”. Kindly ensure that this sort of restriction is not therefore imposed – neither a ban, nor any special charges for the use of lifts by pets.

 Use of PARKS by pets :

e)    Banning pets from gardens or parks, is short-sighted. Firstly, you may or may not own the garden or park in question. It may be an MCD or DDA park, or belong to any other organization. Secondly, pets that are not properly exercised may show aggression in frustration ; and that, surely, cannot contribute to the benefit of the residents. It may be better to fix timings when pets can be walked without inconvenience to other residents. These timings can then be intimated to the general body.

Use of leashes/muzzles by pet owners, defecation by pets in community premises, imposition of fines and other similar measures :

f)     You can request pet owners to keep their pets on leash, when walking them in common areas. You cannot however ask for muzzles as muzzles are illegal for sustained use as dogs die through overheating. Please remember, the law already provides for penalties for negligent pet owners, which the aggrieved parties can avail of.

g)    In the absence of central or state laws requiring cleaning of pet poop by pet owners, you cannot impose any rule, regulation or bye-law, with respect to mandatory cleaning of pet poop, or impose special charges or fines on pet owners. You can, of course, request them to do so.

h)    You can also experiment with the creation of various pet defecation areas within community premises, which is what some housing societies and sectors are doing. These can be imaginatively spaced out within the precincts, and you can request pet owners to train their pets into using the same. You cannot however impose fines and special charges of any kind on pet owners, because there is no mandate in law for the same.

Intimidation :

i)     Lastly, please also always bear in mind that if any association succeeds in intimidating a pet owner into ‘giving up’ or ‘abandoning’ a pet, it will actually have contributed to a violation of law ; and may well be aggravating the menace of ownerless animals on the street, that are not accustomed to living on the street and therefore get involved in and lead to accidents, injuries and deaths. Please also bear in mind that intimidation is an offense in law.

II.         WITH RESPECT TO STREET DOGS :What you CANNOT do :-

1)         Beating and driving away street dogs, NOT ALLOWED ; animal birth control and release back into same locality/territory, ALLOWED :

As per Indian law street dogs (i.e. stray dogs) cannot be beaten or driven away or dumped elsewhere or killed. They can merely be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, vaccinated, and then returned back to their original locations. For the area-wise sterilization program that the law mandates shall be followed, dogs have to be returned back to their original habitat after sterilization and immunization.

2)         The rationale behind release into the same locality/territory :

Dogs, being territorial in nature, tend to fight off other dogs, and keep them from entering their territories ; and in this manner, the dog population in each territory / within each locale, stabilizes.If, however, they are removed permanently, other dogs come into the ‘dog-free’ vacuum that is thereby created. So the ‘problem’ continues.

3)         Street dog feeding, whether inside or outside community premises :

 There is no law that prohibits the feeding of street animals.Citizens who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India – of showing compassion to all living creatures. As recently as the 12th of December, 2011, stray dog feeding has been upheld yet again by the High Court, and the emphatic challenge to the same by one R.W.A., disregarded.

4)         Animal cruelty :

Please also note, animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code –punishable with imprisonment and fine.

5)         Intimidation :

Attempts to interfere with, or harass persons who choose to tend to and feed community dogs, maybe tantamount to the very grave offence of criminal intimidation.

6)         Aggression to dogs, counter productive :

Last but not the least : any aggression or hostility that the dogs may be subjected to, will only render them aggressive, and hostile to humans. They may then resort to snapping and biting in self -defense. If the same happens, the human aggressors shall be the only ones to blame.

Pets and Resident Welfare Associations (RWA): How does the law treat your pet?

Everyday, we receive many queries and calls over the Jaagruti helpline complaining about how their Residential Society’s Welfare Associations (commonly abbreviated as RWA’s) putting up notices ‘banning pets’, coming out with ‘no pets allowed’ clauses in their society bye-laws, ‘asking people to abandon their pets’, ‘mistreating street dogs’ etc. The article below by Rishi Dev of Citizens for Animal Rights, is a must-read for all those facing such a situation. This article explains as well as empowers you with information to fight your own respective battles in this regard for your sake and for your pet child..who has no one other than you in this world to fight for him/her or their rights.

Guest Post* by Rishi Dev, Citizens for Animal Rights

In 2010, the Central Mumbai Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum gave a strong directive to a group housing society who was charging a pet owner resident monthly fees for using lifts. The court clearly said – “Dogs are part of a family hence they have the right to use the lift just as any other member, and we cannot decide who is a family member and who isn’t, each family decides for itself.”

Before this in 2008 a similar order came from a lower court that clarified that pets are part of family and cannot be restricted from living or using the residential complexes.

In 2012, the Gurgaon Municipal Corporation was the first of their kind to issue strict notices to all CGHS and RWAs in Gurgaon, warning them not to formulate rules and regulations against pets and that any such move is in conflict with the law. The notices clearly stated – “Such a move may lead to dissolution of the RWA and prosecution of its office bearers, says the letter. It is illegal to remove animals from the area through security guards employed by RWAs. Nor can they intimidate residents who may be feeding those animals. Under stray dog management rules 2001, it’s illegal for an individual, RWA or estate management to remove or relocate dogs. The dogs have to be sterilized and vaccinated and returned to the same area. Vaccinated and sterilized dogs cannot be removed by the municipality too. Under Section 506 of the IPC, it’s a crime to threaten abuse or harass neighbors who feed animals.”

So what is origin of these laws protecting dogs and cats from humans who treat them unequal?

The system of law in Indian is a tiered system, based on Arthashastra from 400 B.C. & Manusmriti from 100 A.D. wherein the central philosophy was tolerance & pluralism. This is the reason the constitution declares India to be a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality, and liberty.

The hierarchical system of Indian constitution thus forbids the lower hierarchies to overrule or override the higher orders, laws, directions or acts. This means that if Supreme Court says ‘yes’ to something, the ‘no’ by the high courts’ gets automatically nullified. This hierarchy comes down to the lowest local urban body or court. In India most courts have already ruled in favor of the animals in all respects. Hence any organization, individual or body ruling or following actions against such orders are automatically breaking the law and in contempt of the constitution and the honorable courts.

There are laws and constitutional provisions directly allowing people to take care of animals, whether inside or outside their places of work or living. The laws clearly protect people and their animals from all kinds of discrimination.  The Indian constitution states them very clearly via various sections. Article 48-A - “The State shall endeavor to protect & improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.” Article 51-A deals with the fundamental duties of the citizen.  Article 51-A(g) states – ” It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect & improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.” Article 19 deals with the fundamental rights of the citizen. So “Right to Protect the Environment ” comes within Article 19. After the Stockholm Declaration in 1972 the Indian Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 inserted for the first time specific provisions to protect & improve the environment. I.P.C. Section 428 and 429 provides severe punishment to people resorting to dislocation, abduction and acts of cruelty towards community animals or pets. Ministry of Public Grievances notification and a similar notification by Animal Welfare Board of India dated March 2008, provide immunity to animal feeders and restrict government employees or bodies such as Resident Welfare Associations from harassing people who try to feed or help animals. Article 25, 26, 27, 28 provides religious freedom to all citizens and preserves the principle of secularism in India. According to the constitution, all religions are equal before the State. Citizens are free to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their choice in their own way. Keeping or feeding animals is a part of the same right. The other acts which protect animals are The  Environment (Protection)  Act – 1986 & Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.

Hence, anyone taking care, keeping pets or street animals has natural immunity in the law. There are many orders pertaining to street animals by many courts. But in the recent times many RWAs have shown their autocracy over residents keeping pets. Keeping the same in mind the Animal Welfare Board of India and many municipal corporations have time and again written to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) and their RWAs to refrain from these undemocratic actions.

An RWA is a private, representative body which has no legal sanctity. It is just a group of people who have come together and formed a club. Their resolutions and bye laws are not legal mandates and especially if they violate the fundamental rights of a citizen or even more goes against an existing court order. Such RWAs can be legally prosecuted and if need be can face fines or imprisonment or both. Such precedence has been set before. If any resident faces such harassment from RWAs, must immediately approach the local magistrate and file a complaint of harassment and violation of their fundamental rights. The complaint must also be sent to ROS asking them to dissolve the RWA with immediate effect. AWBI must also be approached for taking appropriate legal action against such RWA members.

Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series-4: A Dossier of Indian Street Dog related laws and court rulings- Read, Print and Share widely

To all those who feed and take care of their neighbourhood street dogs in India, we have one request. Don’t feel weak. The laws are on your side and also in favour of the street dogs you care for.

In this post, we are sharing with you one comprehensive document that compiles all the laws, news-clippings and court orders/rulings, pertaining to street dogs

Please download this document by clicking here: A Dossier of Indian Street Dog related laws and court rulings

Save it, take print-outs and read it well.

These are updated laws, rules, orders pertaining to DOGS, their feeding and other rights. Most dog lovers don’t bother to read them and end up getting harassed while the law is strong and clear. Please keep a copy ready and if possible submit one copy in your local police station and the RWA, so unfortunate encounters can be averted beforehand. 

A point wise synopsis is also written in the beginning of this document.

We thank Citizens for Animal Rights for their effort in compiling this document and sharing the same with us. By posting it here, we are sharing it further and hope you all will share it widely too and feel empowered.

Remember: Your responsibility however doesn’t end with just feeding them, please also ensure that these dogs you care for are sterilized and vaccinated…since you are friendly with them, can touch them, it is much easier for you to collaborate with the NGO run Animal Hospital (that runs the local Municipality supported ‘Animal Birth Control’ Programme for street dogs) near your home to help undertake the sterilization of these dogs, it is just a one time exercise and will prevent you the agony of seeing pups dying (of illnesses and car accidents) in front of your eyes ever so frequently.

Do-it-Yourself (DIY) Series-3: Apply for the ‘Colony Caretaker of Animals-Card’ from Animal Welfare Board of India

AWBI website screenshot-information to dogfeeders, colony caretakers

AWBI website screenshot-information to dogfeeders, colony caretakers

Animal Welfare Board of India has decided to issue Identity Cards to Street Dog Feeders/Colony Care Takers of Animals who are taking care of animals in their locality.

A proforma of registration form can be downloaded from this link- http://awbi.org/awbi-pdf/caretakers.pdf or please click below.

AWBI Form for getting Colony Caretaker of Animals ID Card

Please download the form and send the duly filled in form along with the following:

- Two passport size photographs.
- Self -attested true copy of the Ration Card/ Voter ID/ Driving License/ Passport/ PAN Card

 to

ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA
(Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India)
Post Box No. 8672, 13/1, Third Seaward Road, Valmiki Nagar,Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai – 600 041

Colony Animal Cretaker Form_AWBI_English

Colony Animal Cretaker Form_AWBI_Hindi

A news report on the same in Indian Express dated 21st January 2013, by Senior Correspondent Kamala Kelkar,  is posted below. Please hoever note that the process may take less or more than a couple of weeks for you to receive your cards, as mentioned below

People who care for street dogs will soon be getting government-issued identity cards. The new ID cards are expected to do away with harassment faced by many such persons from the general public, when they try to feed canines on the road.

In a move that animal activists termed “unprecedented,” the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has decided last week that anyone who voluntarily cares for strays — dog feeders and colony caretakers who tend to animals in their locality.

It Board has put up a one-page registration form (can be downloaded free of cost) on its website awbi.org, for those who want to get these ID cards.

The applicant needs to fill in personal information such as name, address and experience. Once the application is submitted, the ID card would be processed and mailed to the applicant, board member and legal advisor Anjali Sharma said.

“The card would have the person’s name and an attestation that he/she is doing a right and lawful deed and the Animal Welfare Board supports it. This lends credibility to the person,” Sharma said.

The AWBI is a legal advisory body that was formed under the Animal Prevention Act of 1960 to protect the animals.

Sharma explained that the goal of the card, which does not provide any exclusive rights, was solely the welfare of animals and caretakers.

“Most people don’t realize that sterilization and vaccination of stray dogs would be possible only through feeding and befriending dogs,” Sharma said.

In December 2011, the Delhi High Court had passed an order voicing its approval for designated “dog feeding spots” for stray canines in the city. It passed the order on a petition which sought to protect dogs from “intimidating” residents, so they could be fed without any hassle.

The court also ruled that police should assist dog feeders if they faced any “harassment” from residents and also ordered the AWBI to designate specific feeding areas.

Rishi Dev, founder of Citizens for Animal Rights who has written a book on “Urban disputes over animals”, said this was the first time that the government was supporting such an initiative.

Sharma hoped that many would come forward to apply for the cards. “They are performing a duty,” she said. “And it’s a legitimate exercise.”