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A Guide to Prevention of Cruelty To Animals & Pets - Part 1

02 Apr 2015 | by Neha Manchanda | Posted in: Wag Wiki

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Whether you are a Social Activist fighting for the rights of animals or an animal lover protecting the Indian dogs in your residential or work area, animal abuse or animal neglect has been a grey area that needs to be addressed in the most stringent of ways. Everyday, there are heart wrenching stories of animal neglect and abuse and it raises a question of whether humanity exists or if the world has simply gone to the sadists.

We start April as a month of protecting animals against abuse and neglect. Whether it is your neighbour’s pet who is being tied up outside whole day or whether its a noisy neighbour who raises objection against the Indian stray dogs who reside in your area, there are laws that can help you raise a voice against people who try to inflict harm on harmless, trustworthy beings.

Earlier we had shared articles on the urge for stringent laws and the AWBI circular for pet owners. We now elaborate the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act to help understand what all acts of abuse or neglect can legally harm the person in question.

Definition of cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act, 1960

According to the the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act 1960, cruelty has been defined as any of the following:

  • Beating, kicking, over-riding, over-driving, over loading, torturing, causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals - pets / strays
  • Employing an unfit animal to perform labour or other heavy tasks.
  • Wilfully and unreasonably administering any injurious drug or substance
  • Transporting or carrying the animal in such a way that it causes pain or suffering
  • Keeping or confining any animal in a cage / crate which does not permit a reasonable opportunity to the animal to move about
  • Keeping the animal chained or tethered for an unreasonable time 

And for owners of pets:

  • Keeping the pets habitually chained up in a close confinement
  • Failure to provide food, drink and shelter to the pets in the house
  • Abandons any pet in circumstances which render that the pet will likely suffer starvation or thirst
  • Willfully permits a sick / diseased pet to escape to any street where it may be at risk of death
  • Has any pet which is subject to pain by mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding and other ill treatment
  • Mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by any means - injections, sprays etc. purely for entertainment purposes
  • Organises / keeps pets or manages any place where animal fighting takes places and the money is received for the same.
  • Promotes or takes part in shooting matches where pets are released from captivity to be shot at.

Definition of Cognizable Offences

Cognizable offences are such offences where the Police officer on the scene is empowered to arrest the accused / offender without a warrant All cognizable offences come under the specified offences of Indian Penal Code and include murder, robbery, theft, riots, counterfeiting and the likes. Some of the Cognizable offences are:

  • Section 11(1)(1) - Mutilating any animal or killing any animal (including stray dogs) by using methods of strychnin injections in the heart or any other unnecessary cruel manner
  • Section (1)(n) - Organising, keeping, using or acting in the management of, any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permitting or offering any place to be used or receive money for admission of any person for such purposes.
  • Section 11(1)(o) - Promoting or taking part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting.
  • Section 12 - If any person performs upon any cow or other milch animal in the operation called phooka or any other operation, including injection of oxytocin given by dairies to their milch animals in order to induce milk.

Definition of Non - Cognizable Offence

Non - cognizable offences are such offences where the Police officer is not empowered to arrest without a warrant however can obtain a warrant from the Magistrate concerned to arrest the accused. Some of the non - cognizable offences are:

  • Section 11(1)(a) - Beating, kicking, over-riding, over-driving, over loading, torturing, causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals - pets / strays
  • Section 11(1)(b) - Employing an unfit animal to perform labour or other heavy tasks.
  • Section 11(1)(c) - Wilfully and unreasonably administering any injurious drug or substance
  • Section 11(1)(d) - Transporting or carrying the animal in such a way that it causes pain or suffering
  • Section 11(1)(e) - Keeping or confining any animal in a cage / crate which does not permit a reasonable opportunity to the animal to move about
  • Section 11(1)(g) - being the owner and keeping the pets habitually chained up in a close confinement
  • Section 11(1)(h) - Being the owner and failing to provide food, drink and shelter to the pets in the house
  • Section 11(1)(i) - being the owner and abandoning any pet in circumstances which render that the pet will likely suffer starvation or thirst
  • Section 11(1)(j) - Being the owner and willfully permitting a sick / diseased pet to escape to any street where it may be at risk of death
  • Section 11(1)(k) - Being the owner and keeping any pet which is subject to pain by mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding and other ill treatment
  • Section 11(1)(m) - Solely with a view to entertainment 
    • Confines or causes to be confine any animal including tying an animal as a bait so as it make it an object of prey for the other animal
    • incites any animal to fight or bait any other animal

Complaints & Police Actions

Here are the steps and measure that you and the Police officer in charge can take against the accused or the offender

  • Any person or individual under whose presence any offence under the act is committed can immediately lodge a written complaint with the nearest police station.
  • Section 34 of the Act provides general power of seizure of the abused animal to the Police officer and he / she can produce the seized animal for examination to the magistrate and the vetrinary doctor in charge.
  • Section 35 states that animals seized are to be detained and cared for in an infirmary until fit for discharge and the cost of transport to and from infirmary have to be borne by the owner.

Serious Offences

In case of serious offences such as killing or murder of a animal / pet, it is cognizable under Section 428 and Section 429 of Indian Penal Code

  • Section 428 - deals with the punishment of committing mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any animal / animals. The punishment for such acts / offences are simple or include a rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend upto 2 years or with a fine or both.
  • Section 429 - deals with similar crimes where the incident must be lodged immediately as an FIR with the area police station. The punishment in this case will be imprisonment for a term which may extend upto 5 years or fine, or both.
  • Section 379 - penalised theft. The punishment is imprisonment for a term which may extend upto 3 years with a fine or both. In case of theft of animal / pet a complaint must be lodged as a FIR with the nearest Police Station.
  • In case of poisoning of a dog, a complaint must be lodged with the nearest police station where in the Police officer will inspect the dog and take the same to a government approved veterinarian for inspection and diagnosis. The Police officer will have to file a complaint under the Section 428 and 429 of Indian penal Code and issue a challan to the accused to be produced before court of the concerned Magistrate.

We hope this was helpful! Do watch this space for more articles related to animal welfare and care.

Article courtesy: The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act, 1960

About the Author

Neha

"An ardent writer, a devoted pet parent and a foodie at heart, I believe life is all about new experiences and expressions"

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