Updated: 16th March 2015
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This page is to help you become more aware of the rights and laws with regard to street dogs and their caretakers, so that we can all tactfully and astutely handle confronting situations our neighbours ‘love’ to create when they see our love for dogs.
The below information and documents have been carefully compiled by us. Please use them, take print outs, circulate them to spread awareness on the subject or in situations, whenever you feel harassed by your local RWA or any other person who attempts to harass you for befriending street dogs,-for these animals have as much a right to inhabit the areas they were born in as we do.
Where these street dogs are born is where they belong.
To summarise the content of this page, there is no law that prohibits feeding of street animals, and that 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 offence described in the Indian Penal Code and criminal intimidation. Moreover, that as per Indian law, street dogs cannot be beaten or driven away. Please remember that the only humane, legal and scientific way of dealing with street dogs is to get them vaccinated and sterilized under Animal Birth Control Programme (ABC). Under this program, stray dogs are picked up, neutered, vaccinated against rabies and released in the respective areas from where they had been captured, which is in accordance with the Animal Birth Control Rules 2001 framed, under Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and as per the orders of Honourable Supreme Court of India.
In its report, Technical Report Series 931, WHO’s Expert Consultation on Rabies, which met in Geneva from 5 to 8 October 2004, states as follows and endorses that the ABC program constitutes the only effective and humane method of controlling stray dog populations:
“Since the 1960s, ABC programs coupled with rabies vaccination have been advocated as a method to control urban street male and female dog populations and ultimately human rabies in Asia. The rationale is to reduce the dog population turnover as well as the number of dogs susceptible to rabies and limit aspects of male dog behavior (such as dispersal and fighting) that facilitate the spread of rabies. The culling of dogs during these programs may be counterproductive as sterilized, vaccinated dogs may be destroyed”
Animal Birth Control Programme comprises of two components:
- Sterilization of street dogs, which is the surgical removal of their sex organs (specifically, surgical removal of uterus in case of female dogs and surgical removal of testicles of male dogs) and;
- Administration of an Anti Rabies Vaccine, prior to the dogs being released in the same area where they were picked up from.
Advantages of Animal Birth Control Programme are as follows:
ü Sterilization helps calm the dogs down and restricts their numbers.
ü There is scientific thought behind restoring a sterilized dog to his original habitat. Dogs are territorial animals. They mark out their territories based on the food available and they do not let outsiders come in. When these local dogs are removed from their territory, other dogs move in to occupy them. These may not be sterilized so the problem continues for that locality. Dog fights increase as any new dog entering a territory is attacked by the dogs already in that area and non-sterilized dogs continue to mate and produce litters. Rabies continues to spread as none of the dogs in that area are vaccinated against it. The new dogs are hostile to the residents so problems of safety continue. A sterilized and vaccinated dog doesn’t breed, they guard their territory from intruders and new dogs, and they become docile and don’t fight with other dogs during the mating season.
ü Getting dogs sterilized is the best form of welfare we can all do for street dogs, as these dogs will be vaccinated in the process and will not have to give birth to pups anymore, something they can’t otherwise do without human intervention.
ü Only Dogs above the age of 4 months can be picked up for sterilization/
ü The right ear of sterilized dogs is notched/cut at the tip as a mark of identification.
1. The laws governing Street Dog Sterilization in India
Government of India notified the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 vide the Gazette of India: Extra Ordinary Part II – Sec. 3 – sub section.II dated 24th December 2001 to implement sterilization and vaccination of street/community dogs to control the dog population.
As per Indian law, street dogs cannot be beaten, killed or driven away or displaced or dislocated, they can only be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 enacted under the Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (A Central Act), vaccinated, and then returned back to their original locations.
Rule 6 and Rule 7 of The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, state as follows:
- Rule 6 clearly envisages that even if the Municipal Corporation thinks it expedient to control street dog populations; IT CANNOT RESORT TO KILLING OR DISLOCATING. It can only sterilize and immunize the dogs, and then leave them at the locations that they had been picked up from.
- Rule 7 deals with the procedure to be followed upon receipt of a complaint. Please also note, the Municipality, cannot just pick up dogs, simply because some persons/administrators don’t like their being around. Even the dogs that are complained about can only be sterilized and immunized, and then left back at the locations that they had been picked up from.
Please note there is a specific bar against dislocating dogs, since the same tends to interfere with and jeopardize the area-wise animal birth control. For the area-wise sterilization program mandated by law, dogs have to be returned back to their original habitat after sterilization and immunization. These dogs then tend to fight off other, newer, possibly unsterilized and unvaccinated dogs from entering their territories, since dogs are highly territorial in nature. Dislocation of street dogs has time and again proven to be counter-productive and only favours the entry of other non-sterilized street dogs into the area, which will not only be unknown to you but also to those who tend to the area’s street dogs, thus raising more cases of man-animal conflict.
The Stray feeding guidelines by the Department of Personnel & Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, New Delhi letter no.F.No.30/9/2006-WELFARE dated 26.5.2006, applicable for:
· Treatment of street dogs by government servants: If any Govt. Servant indulges in act of cruelty to animals he will be making himself liable for action under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Besides, punishment under the Act, he would also make himself liable for action under CCS (Conduct) Rules for conduct unbecoming of a Govt. Servant.
· Resident Welfare Associations, citizens and others: Stray animals are to be dealt with through designated agencies in Govt./local self-government organizations/ NGO’s etc. Recognised Associations in Govt. colonies may approach such Institutions for redressal of their grievances. All the problems of stray animals have to be handled within the institutional framework available and NO resident association, recognized or unrecognized, shall take recourse to action on their own, either themselves or through any person employed by them like security guards etc.
A Direct Order dated 3rd March 2008 was issued by Animal Welfare Board of India, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India (D.O. AWBI/PCA/3.3.2008), referring to the above-mentioned Memo and provides for 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.
Moreover, there is no law that prohibits the feeding of street animals. Citizens/animal welfare volunteers 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. Recently, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory body under Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has framed exhaustive Guidelines regarding stray dog feeding. These have been placed before and upheld by the High Court of Delhi. The orders passed on 18th December, 2009, and 4th February, 2010 by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, mandate not only that those street dogs will be fed, but that they will be fed in order to confine them to the localities/areas that they belong to. Confining them to the localities that they belong to facilitates area-wise animal birth control, and yearly/annual vaccination.
The Delhi High Court, vide its rulings in 2009 and 2010, have also actually ordered the Delhi Police to protect persons who feed and care for street dogs, and who are often exposed to the ire of ill-informed, ill-advised residents/administrators of those areas.
The Delhi High Court in its judgement, pronounced on 18.12.2009 and 4.2.2010, 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”.
Also remember that under the Indian laws, animal cruelty is an offence – under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and Section and 429 of the Indian Penal Code – punishable with imprisonment and fine. Likewise, criminal intimidation, and criminally intimidating animal welfare volunteers is a serious offence under the Indian Penal Code (specifically, Section 503 of Indian Penal Code read with Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code 1860).
Please also read and download the 26th February 2015 dated Circular issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India to all Resident Welfare Associations and Societies on the lawful manner of dealing with street as well as pet dogs can be accessed by clicking here.
Below image is a scanned copy (newspaper advertisement) of a Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) notification, showing the approach of the M.C.D. with regard to street animals (which is based on the law of the land). This is a 2009 dated advertisement and there have since been changes in the names of NGOs working with the MCD on doing dog sterilization work in Delhi:
Below is a Scanned copy of a Hindustan Times news report dated 24th January 2009 regarding the view taken by the Supreme Court regarding stray dogs;
A copy of the Delhi’s Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s order dated 2nd May 2007 related to feeding and looking after Street Dogs (CC No. 47/1/2007- case of Mita Das Gupta vs.Malini Sehgal etc.) can be accessed by clicking here.
Every citizen of India is thus hereby advised to abide by the law, and refrain from uncivilized, criminal actions such as seeking to intimidate those who choose to deal with street animals compassionately.
Watching the video links below will further clear up your doubts on this subject: