In India, people who feed stray dogs often face criticism and sometimes even unbelievable hatred because stray dogs are considered to be a threat and menace. People fail to understand that these, too, are living creatures needing sustenance and, though voiceless, have rights of their own. We, as animal lovers, can make a difference by making others aware of the laws enacted by our honourable judiciary and helping others follow them.

1. The Delhi High Court has passed an order for the protection of stray dogs against removal, relocation and killing.

I.P.C Section 428 and 429 provides severe punishment (up to 5 years imprisonment) to people resorting to dislocation, abduction and acts of cruelty towards community animals or pets. And under Stray Dog Management Rules 2001 it is illegal for an individual, RWA or estate management to remove or relocate dogs even after they have been vaccinated and sterilized.

2. The Delhi High Court has passed an order for the protection of dog feeders.

Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 provides that anyone who intimidates any person taking care of dogs is liable for criminal intimidation and can be arrested without a warrant. Section 506 states that it is a crime to threaten, abuse or harass neighbours who feed animals.

3. It is illegal to cause injury to any animal.

Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code and Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 states that it is illegal to maim or injure any animal. It is also illegal for vehicles to cause purposeful harm to dogs, cats and cows on the streets.

4. It is a criminal offence to feed stray animals poisonous food.

Under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, a person can be charged who is caught feeding stray animals poisonous food. This law extends to all states in India except Jammu and Kashmir.

5. Animal Birth Control Rules 2001.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, the Animal Birth Control Rules 2001 provides laws for sterilization and vaccination as a means of stabilizing or reducing stray dog populations and eliminating the risk of rabies; and prohibits the relocation of stray dogs i.e. throwing or driving them out of one area into another.

What can you do if you see someone committing a criminal offence against stray animals?

  1. Delhi Police Act 1968, Sections 73 to 79, 99 gives special powers to police to take action when an animal offence has been committed.
  2. Contact the nearest animal community or NGO.
  3. Contact Friendicoes or PETA.
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