Animal Law

Animal Law

The law, when effectively harnessed, can be come the most potent weapon in the fight against animal abuse and exploitation. When interpreted with courage and compassion, it can extend the maximum protection to living beings that cannot speak or fight for themselves.

Despite the fact that cruelty towards any living creature is unacceptable, we receive reports of deliberate pain and suffering inflicted on animals every day. Some important pointers for common cases are below:

  1. There is no law against feeding needy animals. Any citizen irrespective of where they reside may, from their own resources, feed any animal.
  2. The Court has held that feeding needy animals is a social service. Harassment and threatening to those who feed and care for them is a violation of the laws.
  3. The Bombay High Court has in 2007 had suggested that every society to adopt strays and take care of them.
  4. Persons who are trying to interfere and object to feeding strays and hence display aggression can be held liable for having committed offenses described in the Indian Penal Code and criminal intimidation as it is also against article 51 A (g) of the Indian Constitution.
  5. Hitting or hurting any animal is illegal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
  6. Killing or injuring any animal is a cognizable offence under Section 428 and 429 Indian Penal Code.
  7. Threatening or abusing for feeding animals is tantamount to criminal intimidation under Section 504 of the Indian Penal Code.

CUPA aims to make Animal Welfare Law familiar and accessible so that more and more individuals are able to ensure ethical treatment of animals. Below is a compilation of laws that apply to domestic, wild, experimental and pet animals. We hope to empower all citizens and use the strength of the law to protect animals that are found to be victims of human greed and cruelty.


The Laws – Domestic Animals : 

Laws invoked in cases of animal cruelty are –

⇒ The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960

  • Also referred to as the PCA
  • Considers all incidents of animal cruelty a criminal offense
  • Used to clearly define the violation
  • Provides for fines and imprisonment
  • In 2001 issued the Performing Animals (Registration) Act 2001, whereby no animals could be displayed, exhibited or used for performance without mandatory clearances. This addition specifically introduced to monitor the use of animals in the 250-300 circuses/ travelling zoos in the country. In the year 2012, only 24 circus companies were registered with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA)

⇒ Pet Shop Rules 2010

  • Section 3 allows trade of animals in any way or form, only after obtaining a license as prescribed further in the Rules
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India shall grant licenses to any establishment after receiving and reviewing the application in the prescribed format
  • Existing establishments granted a period of 60 days to obtain licenses, starting from the date of commencement of the Rules
  • Each applicant agrees to allow his premises to be inspected by representatives of the Board and the local authority
  • Section 5 mandates requirements for accommodation, housing, and infrastructure of animals
  • Section 6 provides guidelines for minimum space requirements for birds, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice.
  • Section 7 defines veterinary care and other operational requirements
  • Section 8 ensures that records of births, deaths, and sales are maintained
  • Section 9 states penalties for violations and offenses

⇒ Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules 2017

  • Section 3 prohibits the breeding and sale of dogs and pups unless the owner has obtained the certificate of registration from the State Board in accordance with the rules
  • Section 4 provides for the eligibility criteria required to obtain the certificate of registration.
  • Section 7 enables the State Board to inspect the establishment of breeding at any given time.
  • Section 8 provides for the conditions required for the sale of dogs and pups.
  • Section 8(a) prohibits the sale of pups less than 8 weeks in age.
  • Section 8(b) prohibits the sale of unsterilized dogs over 6 months in age unless they are being sold to another licensed breeder.
  • Section 8(e) states that each pup sold is to have a microchip along with a complete record of treatment and vaccination is to be maintained.
  • Section 8(f) prohibits the display of pups in public places for the purpose of an immediate sale.

CUPA Dog Breeding Investigation report (2015) is a comprehensive investigative report revealing the deplorable conditions
of pet dogs used for breeding in Bangalore, Karnataka.


⇒ Regulation of Livestock Markets 2017

  • Section 5 discusses the registration process of existing animal markets
  • Section 6 discusses the process of establishment of new animal markets.
  • Section 7 provides the function of the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee.
  • Section 8 provides for the additional precautions to be taken regarding animal markets in border areas.
  • Section 12 enables the district veterinary inspector to inspect the animals at the market at any given point of time.
  • Section 13 prohibits the sale, public display and transportation of an animal if it is pregnant or unfit.
  • Section 14 prohibits cruel practices such as hot branding, shearing and painting of horns, forcing the animals to perform, castration of animals by quacks, etc.
  • Section 15 states the measures to be taken by the owners to ensure that the animal does not undergo pain and unnecessary suffering due to exposure to hot/cold weather, inadequate ventilation available for the animal, thirst or starvation, etc.
  • Section 18 prohibits the penning and caging of the animals.
  • Section 22 provides certain restrictions on the sale of cattle and other animals.
  • Section 24 and 25 provide for the accommodation and treatment of unfit animals by the Animal Market Committee.

⇒ The Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001.

  • Also referred to as ABC Rules
  • Provide for sterilization and vaccination as a means of stabilizing/reducing stray dog populations and eliminating the risk of rabies (Section 3)
  • Provides guidelines for the carrying out of local Animal Birth Control programs (Section 7)
  • Prohibits relocation of stray dogs (Section 7)
  • Provides guidelines for dog breeding which must be adhered to by breeders (Section 12)

⇒ Karnataka Prevention of Animal Sacrifices Act 1959

  • This Act prohibits animal sacrifices in or within the precincts of Hindu Temples
  • The Act was then extended in scope to include any place of public religious worship or adoration
  • No person is allowed to offer or officiate, perform, assist or participate in animal sacrifice
  • Contraventions shall be punished with imprisonment and/or a penalty
  • Police sub-inspectors may arrest without warrant, any person who contravenes this Act

⇒ Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001.

  • Clearly defines the conditions under which an animal can or cannot be slaughtered
  • Mandates that animals cannot be slaughtered except in recognized or licensed slaughterhouses (Section 3)
  • This includes provisions of resting grounds, compulsory veterinary inspections, slaughter in isolation (out of view of other animals), specifications for the slaughterhouse building such as floors, windows, drainage and ventilation, valid licensing of employees and impromptu inspections carried out by the Animal Welfare Board of India (Section 4 – 9)

⇒ The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965.

  • For large working animals such as buffalo, horse, mule pony and camel
  • Classifies these animals into ‘large’, ‘medium’ and ‘small’ and prescribes maximum loads that can be carried respectively (Section 2)
  • Allows persons authorized by the Government or the Animal Welfare Board of India to take charge of an animal in case of suspected offense (Section 11)

⇒ The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Transport of Animals on Foot) Rules, 2011.

  • Applies to transport of animals on foot when the distance from point of origin to the last destination is 5 km or more than 5 km (Section 3)
  • Mandates that animals transported on foot shall be healthy and in a fit condition for such transport (Section 4)
  • Prohibits the use of a whip, etc during transportation of animals (Section 11)
  • Prohibition on transport of animals on foot before sunrise and after sunset (Section 12)
  • Provision of distance, time, rest, intervals and temperature to be provided
  • Allows persons authorized by the Government or the Animal Welfare Board of India to take charge of an animal in case of the suspected offense

⇒ The Motor Vehicles Act – Notification to regulate animal transport.

  • Makes OIE standards of cattle transport mandatory
  • Mandates that each transporter obtain a special registration for each animal carrier after having fitted individual permanent partitions in the vehicle to prevent overloading.
  • Animal carriers disallowed from carrying any other goods

⇒ The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972

  • An Act of the Parliament of India enacted for the protection of wild animals, birds, and plants
  • Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed
  • Categories native Indian wildlife into 5 schedules which mandate varying degrees of protection
  • An amendment to the Act on April 1st, 2003 expanded the scope of the definition of a zoo, to include circuses, stipulating that no circuses could be established without the prior approval of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA)


⇒ Ban on Import of Breeds by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade


Circulars/Orders issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).

⇒ AWBI circular on pet dogs and street dogs in and around residential complexes

⇒ AWBI – All circulars

⇒ AWBI guide to Animal Welfare Laws – a training module for the police and law enforcement agencies  

 Directions to ban the glue traps

Other Orders, Circulars and FAQs

⇒ Consumer Court Order w.r.t Dogs in lifts dated 25.11.2008

⇒ Govt. of India issued Office Memorandum w.r.t Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

⇒ Order to Police Stations in Delhi to duly record FIRs for PCA violations

⇒ Dealing with stray dogs – Do’s and Dont’s – issued by PfA in Public Interest

Issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India

⇒ Order dated 18.11.2015 w.r.t stray dogs

Municipal Solid Waste (Prohibition of Littering and Regulation of Segregation, Collection, Processing & Disposal) Rules 2012


Taking Care of speechless Animals during COVID 19 Lock down days

Animal Welfare Board of India bans reopening of unregistered pet shop

Karnataka order for Pet shops and dog breeders

RWAs causing animal cruelty during COVID-19: PIL