Preventive measures for animal abuse
What specific laws do I need to know as an animal lover to protect street animals?
Being an animal lover, Activist or Feeder in India makes you face hostilities that will leave you frustrated and demoralized. As we commonly complain, '90% of Animal Welfare Work is about dealing with hostile humans.
Add to it the ignorance and apathy of the police. Which is why you need to know the laws in order to protect yourself and protect the animals under your care. India happens to have one of the most comprehensive set of animal protection laws in the world. There are detailed codes of conduct governing our use and treatment of both domestic, stray and wild animals and there are many cases where these laws have been implemented. In fact, India is unique in that animal welfare is enshrined in our constitution and every citizen is required to show compassion for all living beings.
What to do if your society is forcing you to give up your pet?
i. Refuse. The RWA has no legal status as it is not a legal entity. It cannot make laws that go against other laws. If it's a notice, download the copies of the rulings ( you can get them from our site www.peopleforanimalsindia.org)and AWBI guidelines and share it with the RWA/ housing society bringing it to their notice that their by-laws are illegal and unenforceable.
ii. If they threaten you or your pets, lodge an FIR. When you approach the police, keep a copy of these rulings and notices. It helps get the cops to do their jobs.
iii. Write a letter to any local Animal Welfare NGO of repute asking them for help. Your NGO will either send a notice itself or guide you on how to send it yourself. Get a lawyer to send a legal notice.
iv. You are being harassed, intimidated, your rights of privacy and right to property are being violated. All these are jailable offences and the RAW secretary/president becomes the culprit.
v. Approach consumer courts. You living in a housing society makes you a consumer and them, a service provider. The precedents in such cases have been positive for pet owners.
What can you do to help an injured or abused stray animal?
i. When you see a Stray Animal being hit, abused, beaten or harassed, be sure to inform the offender of the law and get him or her to stop. Should the abuse persist, register an FIR at the closest police station.
ii. Do not become discouraged if the police do not, at first, take you seriously. In many cases, they may not know the laws pertaining to animals. Be polite but firm and show them you mean business by presenting a copy of the sections of the law Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, Section 11.
iii. Seeking help of Local NGOs and Activists is highly recommended as they have prior experience and authority in dealing with non-cooperative housing societies and police.
iv. If the municipality in your area is cruelly killing homeless dogs, make an appointment with the municipal commissioner. Inform the commissioner that it has been proven that cruelly killing dogs reduces neither their number nor the incidence of bites and rabies and that the courts have ruled that it is illegal to cruelly kill stray animals.
v. The Animal Welfare Board of India has developed a set of guidelines for all municipalities directing the implementation of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme. If there is an animal welfare organization in the area, urge it to take up the ABC programme.
vi. It is illegal for a municipality to round up stray dogs and abandon them outside city limits, as it places them in circumstances likely to cause their death from starvation and thirst. Therefore, you should challenge this cruelty in court.
vii. Knowing the law however doesn't do much for an animal who is injured however. Your first priority is to get him help. The punishment can wait.
viii. When you see an animal knocked over by a vehicle, get the number of the vehicle and move on to helping the animal. Check the animal for signs of life. If possible, move him or her to safety and administer life-saving first aid. Your priority is to stabilize the Animal and stop bleeding if any. Seek help from people around to catch and restrain the Dog because an injured dog can bite in pain and stress. Use a clean cloth or cotton wool and press firmly against the wound to stop bleeding. If you can take the animal to a veterinarian yourself, do so. If not, call an animal welfare organization that has an ambulance.
ix. Once he animal is taken care of, file a complaint against the offender with the closest police station (IPC sections 428 and 429).
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