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Let's admit it. Half our problem is we don't know enough, whether it's about dogs in apartments, breeders, cruelty issues or feeding stray dogs . By knowing more , we can HELP more.

Animal Laws: List


Be Aware, Take Action.

The main laws are found in the following Rules: Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017, Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules 2001, etc.

Laws relating to street animals

  • Killing, maiming, poisoning or rendering useless of any animal is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years or with fine or with both, under Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Under Section 429 of the Code, the term is 5 years and is applicable when the cost of the animal is above 50 Rs.

  • Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act provides that if any person allows, or himself beats, kicks or tortures, in any way, any animal subjecting it to unnecessary pain and suffering will be liable to pay a fine of upto 50 Rs. In case of repetition of the offence, the fine will increase or an imprisonment for 3 months will be granted.

  • The Animal Protection (Dogs) Rules, 2001 provide for rules relating to pet and street dogs. 

Laws relating to Pets

  • A lot of laws relating to pets are found in Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The punishment, as mentioned above, for any of these offences is upto Rs 100, and three months imprisonment in case of repetition of the offence.

  • Any person, who is the owner of an animal, negligently or intentionally chains a dog in close confinement, habitually

  • Any owner who fails to provide his animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter- Section 11 (h)

  • Any person who, without any reasonable cause, abandons an animal in such a situation where the animal is bound to suffer pain due to starvation or thirst- Section 11 (i)

  • Any owner of an animal who consciously allows an infected, diseased or disabled animal to go into any street without any permit or leave the animal to die in any street- Section 11 (j)

  • Any person intimidating another person and preventing him/her, who is the owner of a pet, from keeping or taking care of his/her pet can be held liable under Section 503 of the IPC.

Laws relating to Work Animals/Cattle

Chapter III of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act deals with “Cruelty to animals generally” According to Section 11, the following acts are punishable by fine upto Rs. 25-100 and a maximum of three months of imprisonment on repetition of the said acts.

  • anybody who employs any unfit animal, suffering from wound, infirmity, sores or an animal of an old age, to work. -Section 11 (b)

  • anybody who carries any animal subjecting it to pain or suffering. – Section 11 (d)

  • keeps an animal in a cage or any other such confinement which is not sufficiently big enough as to let the animal move freely. -Section 11 (e) 

  • any owner of an animal who allows his animal, affected with a contagious or infectious disease to die in any street. -Section 11 (j)

  • any person who offers for sale an animal that is suffering from pain due to mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or ill-treatment. -Section 11 (k)

  • In October 2014, non binding guidelines called National Code of Practices for Management of Dairy Animals in India were released by the government in consultation with an NGO named World Animal Protection.

Laws relating to Wild Animals

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is another Central Act that provides for the protection of wild birds, animals, plants, etc. The Act prohibits the killing, poaching, trapping, poisoning, or harming in any other way, of any wild animal or bird.  It also provides for establishment of Wildlife Advisory Boards in every State.

  • According to Section 2 (37) of the act, wildlife includes any animal, aquatic or land vegetation which forms part of any habitat, thus making the definition a wide and inclusive one.

  • Section 9 of the Act prohibits the hunting of any wild animal  (animals specified in Schedule 1, 2, 3 and 4) and punishes the offense with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to Rs. 25,000/- or with both.

  • The Act allows the Central and State Government to declare any area ‘restricted’ as a wildlife sanctuary, national park etc.  Carrying out any industrial activity in these areas is prohibited under the Act.

  • Section 48A of the Act prohibits transportation of any wild animal, bird or plants except with the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden or any other official authorised by the State Government.

  • Section 49 prohibits the purchase without license of wild animals from dealers.

Laws relating to Aquatic Animals

The Wildlife Protection Act is applicable to aquatic animals too. Protection of marine species in India is done through creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA). 

  • Schedule 1-4 of the Wildlife Protection Act provides a list of all the protected marine species, for e.g seahorse, giant grouper, hermatypic corals, organ pipe, fire coral, sea fans, etc.

  • Schedule III protects all species of sponges and Schedule IV comprises of a wide variety of mollusks.

  • Dolphins have been recognized as the national aquatic animal of India and find themselves placed in Schedule I. India has banned use of dolphins for commercial entertainment, thereby placing a ban on establishment of any ‘dolphinarium’ in the country.

Laws relating to Birds

Birds, too, are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (WLPA) and in Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA), alongwith land and aquatic animals.

  • Section 11 (o) of the PCAA  provides for punishment of any person who promotes or himself takes part in any shooting match/competition where animals are released from captivity for shooting.

  • Under Section 16 (c) of the WLPA,  it is unlawful to injure or destroy wild birds, reptiles, etc. or damaging or disturbing their eggs or nests. The person who is found guilty of any of this can be punished for upto 7 years in jail and be made to pay a fine of upto Rs 25,000.

Laws relating to Zoo Animals

Laws relating to zoo animals are also found in The Wildlife Protection Act. 

  • Section 38A of the Act provides for establishment of a Central Zoo Authority by the Central Government, which has the following functions:

     – specifying the minimum standards for keeping of animals inside the zoo.

      -recognize or derecognize zoos.

      -recognize endangered species and assign responsibilities to zoos for their captive                breeding, etc.

  • According to Section 38 H, no zoo is allowed to function in India without recognition of the Central Zoo Authority.

  • The CZA provides the guidelines that are necessary for Establishment & Scientific Management of Zoos in India. These include rules like providing sufficient area, healthcare, freedom of movement, a naturalistic environment to the animals, etc.

Laws Relating to Animals used for the purpose of entertainment

  • No animal can be used for the purpose of entertainment except without registering under The Performing Animals Rules, 1973.

  • Chapter V of the PCAA deals with performing animals.

  • Section 26 of the PCAA provides for punishment for any person who uses any animal for the purposes of entertainment/performance with a fine of upto Rs 500 or with an imprisonment of upto three months or with both.

Laws relating to testing or experiment on animals

Millions of animals, especially white mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys, etc. are used for experimentation all over the world, and suffer and die with great pain in this process. Use of animals for experimentation in the cosmetic industry amounts to grave cruelty.

  • Through the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (Second Amendment) 2014, animal testing for cosmetic products was prohibited all over India. 

  • Any person who violates the Act is liable for punishment for a term which may extend from 3 to 10 years or shall be liable to a fine which could be Rs.500 to Rs.10,000, or both.

  • According to Rule 135B of the Drugs and Cosmetic (Fifth Amendment) Rules 2014, no cosmetic that has been tested on animals shall be imported into the country.

  • A committee, established under the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act–The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) released the Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998 (amended in 2001 and 2006) that regulate the experimentation on animals.

  • Dissecting and experimenting on animals in schools and colleges is banned in India, under the PCCA. 

How can you take action?

Now that we have a quiver full of laws in our hands to shoot, let us look at how we can use them and make a formal complaint against violation of animal rights, and where:

Sending a Legal Notice: You can either send a legal notice to the individual/group of animal abusers yourself through a lawyer, or report the matter to an NGO which would do that for you. In case no action is being taken by the abuser even after sending the notice, you can file an official complaint.

Getting a Wildlife Case Registered: An offence report is known by different names in different states, such as Preliminary Offence Report (POR), Offence Report, First Information Report (FIR), Seizure Intimation, etc. However, to make the reports uniform, it is advised that the report be called Wildlife Offence Report (WLOR). It is prepared under Section 50(4) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. This can be filed by anyone generally.

Though, to file a ‘complaint’, one needs to approach a magistrate and make an allegation orally or in writing. One can approach a forest officer, who can further file a complaint to the magistrate. According to Section 55 of the WLPA, the following persons can file a complaint to the magistrate:

  1. The Director of Wildlife Preservation or any other officer authorized on his behalf, who is authorised by the Central Government, Members of Central Zoo Authority or Member-Secretary of Tiger Conservation Authority, Director of the concerned Tiger Reserve.

  2. Chief Wildlife Warden

  3. Any person who has given another person/group a notice of at least sixty days, of his intention to make a complaint.

Arrest by an individual: Offences under the Wildlife Protection Act are non-bailable and cognizable offences. Under Section 43 of the CrPC, an individual can arrest an offender who has committed a non-bailable and cognizable offence or is a habitual offender, and hand him/her over to the police.

Getting the authorities to actually take action

It is very possible that a person may be very passionate about reporting a certain incident or just generally about animal welfare, and  may want to take action, but the concerned authorities may not cooperate with them. This gets very demotivating, which is why a lot of people think of exercising animal welfare as a very futile job. To get the authorities to actually take action, make sure you do the following:

  • Make friends with lawyers and journalists: both of them, sometimes in exchange of money and sometimes pro bono, will help you get your case through.

  • Meet people in NGOs and try to help the aggrieved animal or get an abuser reprimanded with the help of established NGOs. Previously, NGOs have fought and won many cases in courts, and are a powerful force altogether.

  • If the authorities are not taking action when it is urgent, try to call or write to higher authorities, politicians, etc.

  • Gather people. Organize a peaceful protest or demonstration.

  • File a grievance on the website of Animal Welfare Board of India.


Although a lot of very elaborate and specific animal protection laws have been passed in India, they are often not properly implemented. It is so because concerned citizens and NGOs do not often emphasize on taking the legal pathway to accomplish results. At the same time, it is imperative to realize that the legislation that we currently have in India is not sufficiently strong and reasonable so as to make great change. The general anti-cruelty parts in Section 11 of the PCAA can be made a lot more effective by increasing the punishment and fine to some extent. 

The laws can be made more stringent and all-encompassing so that animals of all kinds, be it street animals, wild animals and animals residing in all types of habitat are protected and preserved.

(This information made available kind courtesy


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Animal Laws: Text
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