Dog owners beware. You can land in legal trouble for mistreating your pet.
A few days ago, animal welfare NGOs sent a legal notice to a South Delhi-based businessman for allegedly inflicting cruelty on his pet, a Dalmatian, at his property in Mayfair Garden.
The notice, complete with legalese and quotes from relevant Acts and rules, warned the owner of dire consequences if he did not treat his dog in accordance with the laws.
“The notice means if the owner does not take care of the dog, then we have the option of complaining to the Magistrate and let law take its course,” said Rajesh Mahindru, counsel for NGO Animal Saviour, which has taken up the case.
According to the NGO, the Dalmatian had been kept tied to one spot without morning and evening walks.
“Its hind legs have developed sores and it is in an extremely ailing condition. It is tied to the railing of a park outside the house for the whole day every day,” said animal rights activist Gautam Grover, managing trustee of the NGO.
“The chain with which it is tied is so small that it cannot sit so it has to keep standing. The bowl kept for it to drink water from is usually kept empty despite this heat. We went there, spoke to the guards, as the owner does not live there, and briefed them about the law. But nothing happened,” said Nadeem Shehzad of NGO People for Animals, which also took part in the case.
Can a third party decide how a legal owner of a dog keeps his pet at home?
“There are provisions in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that gives every citizen the right to take cognisance of mistreatment to animals even by its owner and seek legal action. Chapter 9 of the Delhi Police Act gives the police the right to confiscate pets on charges of mistreatment,” Grover said.
“Now if the dog dies of this cruelty, the owner can be strictly punished as per the Indian Penal Code,” Shehzad said.