Have a pet at home? Are you aware of your civic rights and duties as a pet owner?

The joy of being a pet guardian should not be discomforting for those around you. When you make the conscious decision to welcome a four-legged friend into your home, it is essential to ensure that you abide by the rules and be a responsible citizen as well, because the luxury of having a pet also comes with the responsibility of being a good citizen.


According to the revised guidelines for pet owners by The Animal Welfare Board of India, which operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,

A pet is akin to a perennial toddler and therefore deserves the same attention throughout its life.

Pet owners are advised to ensure that their pets are not a source of nuisance to others. In doing so, they may, however, distinguish between reasonable and unreasonable, lawful and unlawful claims as to their pets being a source of nuisance; however, no amount of pressure should lead to abandonment of a pet animal. Doing so is a violation of law.

Pet owners are advised to either clean up when the pet defecates in public premises or participate in other solutions to maintain cleanliness.

For instance, you can have designated pet corners in the complex/park where pets can be trained/encouraged to relieve themselves; a corner can be designated where pet poop can be collected and composted.

Although barking is a dog’s natural way of communication, it is crucial that the barking isn’t causing a lot of noise for the neighbours.

The pet owner should make sure that their pet is clean, healthy and vaccinated.

Leashing of pets in public places is advisable; this assures passersby that they are safe and makes their walk comfortable. Leashing also ensures the safety of the pet.

Meet Ashar, Emergency Response Coordinator – PETA India and Animal Welfare Officer (H), Animal Welfare Board of India – Government of India says, “Domesticated animals like dogs and cats who we bring into our homes are living, breathing, thinking, feeling individuals who have needs specific to their species and who absolutely must be considered as family members. Wild animals, on the other hand, like fish and birds are inadequate to be kept inside homes. They have needs like flying and swimming long distances that we cannot meet. Animals are not inanimate objects to be bought and sold or discarded at our whims. Because there are too many dogs and cats and not enough good homes, and since pet shops and breeders are notorious for keeping animals in horrid conditions, it is advisable that you adopt a pet from an animal shelter or the street if you have the time, patience and the resources to look after the pet.”


The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001 framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, provides that – “The owner of pet dogs shall be responsible for the controlled breeding, immunisation, sterilisation and licensing in accordance with these rules and the law at the time being in force within a specified local area.”

Animal guardians from Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai and other municipal corporations which provide a license for keeping dogs as companion animals must obtain such a license from their ward office/dog control cell.

The same is to be renewed every year. This is important because the license also helps confirm the dog is yours in case of theft or dispute.