Our pets are an integral part of our lives and our homes. Making sure this home is a safe and happy place for them requires us to learn the animal laws in India. The Government of India has laid down laws and rights for pets and streeties in housing societies with an aim to protect them against cruelty and abuse. Let’s look at the animal protection laws in societies, the responsibilities of pet parents, and the guidelines for the management committee when it comes to keeping pets in housing societies.
Laws and rights for pets and streeties living in societies:
There is a lot of confusion regarding the laws for stray dogs and pets in societies, this section can help clarify some of those doubts.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 was established to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. The act consists of several laws that protect the rights of animals against cruelty. The Animal Welfare Board of India was also established under this act and it states the following rules for pets & community animals in housing societies.
All pets & community animals have the right to live a happy life
No housing societies can pass by-laws that ban pets. Such laws cannot be imposed on members even when there is a majority of votes against pets in the society. Sub-tenants can have pets in their flats. The Kerala High Court also ruled that it is illegal for RWAs to prohibit residents from keeping pets.
No housing society can ban a pet based on their breed or size. Even a dog’s barking habits cannot be used as a reason to ban pets.
Use of common facilities
No housing society can ban pets from using common utilities like lifts, parks or clubhouses. A charge for using the same is also not allowed. A society cannot introduce any modification in this rule. Courts consider pets to be a part of the family, hence common facilities to them cannot be denied.
Imposing the use of muzzles
Pet parents can be requested to keep their pets on a leash when in common areas. However, the pet parent can be fined in case of negligent behavior. Societies cannot impose the use of muzzles on dogs. However, the pet parent must ensure the pet is well trained.
Feeding community animals
Society cannot ban/threaten/intimidate or harass any resident who feeds, looks after and takes care of community animals in the locality. Section 503 and 506 of the IPC make this a punishable offense.
The Animal Welfare Board of India issues ID cards for feeders and colony caretakers. These ID cards are issued with the intent to let people know that the actions taken by volunteers are lawful. They also provide a buffer against harassment to the feeders and caretakers. The application to obtain this ID card can be downloaded from the official website of the Animal Welfare Board of India
A society cannot relocate any community animal. Section 11(1) (i) and Section 11(1) (j) PCA Act, 1960 protect them from being relocated as relocation leaves animals in a situation where they might suffer. This is especially true in the case of community dogs as they live in packs. Each pack has their own territory and their instincts of protecting their pack lead to deadly fights.
Under sections 428 and 429 of the IPC, cruelty towards animals, be it pets or animals is a punishable offense. It is also illegal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. No society can create harassment laws against pets or community animals. Any society member found being cruel to them can be reported to the police. Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is one of the most important sections in the act. It deals with various forms of atrocities and cruelty that are inflicted on domestic and wild animals. This section has many subsections that deal with different forms of cruelty. This includes:
- Running over
- Extreme load over
- Engagement in labor work despite sickness
- Administration of dangerous drugs
- Confinement in cages where animals cannot move
- Not providing adequate water, food and/or shelter
- Abandonment in situations wherein the animal has to suffer
- Animal fighting for money
- Keeping animals chained for long periods
- Treating animals in a way to subject unnecessary pain or suffering
Beastiality Laws in India:
Section 377 of the IPC retains beastiality as a criminal offense. The Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality under the same section but retained the feature of intercourse with animals to be deemed as a crime. The argument is based on the fact that animals cannot provide consent, hence beastiality is considered to be a crime.
Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules, 2001 under the PCA Act:
This act came into existence to control the population of community dogs and eliminate the risk of rabies. It promotes sterilization and vaccination of streeties in a right and lawful manner. The act states that every animal, after vaccination or sterilization must be left at the same location where they were picked up from. As dogs are territorial, they might suffer when left in a new locality. It prohibits relocating and killing streeties.
The animal cruelty laws in India were established for the promotion of the welfare of all animals, be it pets or community animals. If you find any unlawful activity taking place against animals, please reach out to an NGO and/or the police. One can also send a legal notice attaching the laws, rules and bylaws. Maneka Gandhi, a prominent animal rights activist and member of the Lok Sabha can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Responsibilities of Pet Parents - Rules & Regulations to keep pets in housing societies:
The Constitution of India has provided every Indian citizen with rights but has also bestowed some fundamental duties that every Indian must abide to. Harmony is a two-way street. To live in a happy and thriving community, pet parents too should take up some responsibilities to make sure the society lives happily together. Here are some guidelines for pet parents living in societies:
Train your pet
Pets can become uncomfortable and act out if they’re not trained properly. They may jump or bark at other residents, making them feel uncomfortable. Training your pet how to walk with a leash, teaching them to stay calm in new situations and familiarizing them with the society is not just good for the other residents but for your pet too. To know more about this, speak to the expert trainers at Wiggles.in.
Vaccinate on time
Get your pet vaccinated with all the essential vaccines on time and maintain the records. These documents will help you in case of any unexpected situations in the future. Encourage your society to conduct vaccination drives for the streeties too.
Adhere to society rules
Some societies have specific time slots to access common areas. Before purchasing/renting the accommodation, ensure you know all the rules that the society has formed for pets and adhere to them.
Animals can bring communities together
Scoop the poop
It is advisable for pet parents to clean up after their pets even if it is not required by law. Ensure your pet is potty-trained to avoid any accidents in the society’s lobby areas. Sometimes a pet may even throw up in the common areas, it is courteous on the pet parent’s part to clean it. Maintaining cleanliness is looked upon as a moral duty.
Supervise your pet
Even if your pet is well-trained it is advisable to supervise them when in common areas. Walk your pets with a leash when in areas like children’s playgrounds, jogging parks, lifts, etc. If there are babies or small kids in the park, keep a close eye on your pet, children can be unpredictable and so can some pets. Ensure your pet is not hostile or aggressive towards other pets or streeties in the surrounding areas.
Ensure your pet does not create trouble for other residents when they’re left alone. Make sure they get enough exercise and you look after them well.
Guidelines for society management:
To ensure pet parents, other residents and the society live together with no hurdles, the society can implement the following rules & regulations without violating the law.
Make time slots
The housing society can create specific time slots as to when the pet parents can use parks, gardens and grounds.
Scheduling regular meetings of pet parents and non-pet parents to interact and meet other dogs can help build a sense of community. This way the society residents can be friends with the furry companions and know the joys of living in each other’s existence.
Designate defecation areas
A designated defecation area outside the community premises can be implemented by the housing society. The area shouldn’t be too small, ensure it is big enough for multiple dogs to be there at the same time. The society can also request the residents to pick-up after their pets.
Create a group of pet parents
Make a group of the society’s pet parents on your preferred messaging app. This platform can be used to share daily updates, new ideas for the welfare of pets and community animals, discuss any complaints or grievances and also provide guidelines. The pet parents can also coordinate and schedule vaccination drives and regular health check-ups at the same time by appointing a vet who can visit the society on a monthly basis.
Designate feeding spots
A dedicated feeding spot for streeties can help maintain cleanliness. It also helps the streeties know that they will find food and water in this spot.
Looking after streeties is a noble act
Ask pet parents to accompany pets
The pet parent can be requested to accompany the pet when they are in the society premises to avoid any accidents.
Tie-up with Animal Welfare Organizations
A collaboration with a welfare organization will help the society residents learn and educate themselves about animal welfare. Vaccination and sterilization drives are encouraged for the welfare of the streeties. Once sterilized and vaccinated, the streeties must be released in a healthy condition back to the same locality.
Promote kindness and compassion towards pets & streeties
As a society, we must help build the feeling of compassion and empathy towards pets and community animals. Encourage people to not throw stones and scare away animals. Instead, make shelters, provide food and water for the furry ones. The love that animals have for us is truly unconditional and unparalleled, this love can only make a community stronger.
Leaving you with some words by the Father of our Nation “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
We hope this blog helps you become aware and learn more about animal welfare. Share it with fellow animal lovers and let’s make this world a better place for all animals!
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*Disclaimer: This blog is vet-approved and includes original content which is compiled after thorough research and authenticity by our in-house team of vets and content experts. It is always advisable to consult a veterinarian before you try any products, pet food or any kind of treatment/medicines on your pets, as each pet is unique and will respond differently.