Pet shops are required to take proper care of the animals that are kept in their shops for sale. However, it is often seen that the animals are kept in congested and overcrowded spaces and are not provided with sufficient food and water. For the purpose of ensuring the welfare of these animals in pet shops, the Government of India made Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, which came into force on the 6th September, 2018 with the power conferred to it under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 under Section 38 (1) and (2).
As per Section 2(j), “pet animal” includes dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, rodents of the rat or mice category, pet birds and such other type of animals, the ownership of, and trade in which, is not prohibited by any other law, rules or regulations.
As per Section 2(k), “pet shop” means a shop, place or premises, including any shop. place or premises in a weekly or other market, where pet animals are sold or housed, kept or exhibited for sale, or where any retail or whole-sale business involving the selling or trading of pet animals are carried out, and includes online platforms over which the sale and purchase of pet animals is carried out wherever the context permits.
- According to the Rule 4, a pet store owner must get a Registration Certificate from the State Animal Welfare Board (also referred to as State Board) of the relevant state in order to run the business.
- The licence must be displayed prominently in the establishment, and consumers visiting the shop may request it.
- The Registration Certificate is non-transferable, and a person shall make separate applications for every pet shop or premises being used for the business of sale or trade in pet animals.
- As per Rule 9 of the regulation, any person can file a written complaint with the State Board which will initiate an investigation through a local authority or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
- If the pet shop owner is found to be a defaulter and fails to provide a compelling justification for his failure to follow the guidelines, the State Board has the authority to terminate the pet shop’s registration.
- Appeal before the State Board against the decision of the SPCA or Secretary, Animal Husbandry, State Government against the decision of the State Board within 30 days of the receipt of the decision.
Location & Infrastructure:
- A pet store cannot be maintained in or near locations where loud noises or toxic fumes & odours are released, according to the rules.
- Furthermore, no pet shop can be located near industries, butcheries, or slaughterhouses.
- Every pet store should have a sufficient ventilation system, an optimal temperature based on the kind of animals housed within, and smoke-detection and firefighting equipment.
- There should be enough room for the animals maintained in a pet shop to stand, sit, lie down, turn around, stretch, and make any other postural adjustments without difficulty or interruption.
- Due to limited space, the birds should be maintained in cages that allow them to easily fly, hop, leap, climb, and move about.
Some of the other important sections under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018:
- As per Section 3, no person may open a pet shop or engage in the trading of pet animals without a certificate of registration from the relevant State Animal Welfare Board.
- As per Section 3, any pet store that does not have a valid certificate of registration or fails to apply for one within a certain time period, will be closed down. Animals seized from such stores must be sent to a Board approved animal protection charity.
- As per Section 4(2), a registration application must be submitted to the State Board, along with a non-refundable cost of 5,000 INR. Each pet store or premises utilised for the pet trade must submit a separate application. This certificate shall be valid for five years, non-transferable, and subject to an annual review.
- As per Section 4(6), upon acceptance of an application, a registered pet business must be examined by an authorised veterinarian. The State Board shall continue the registration if it is satisfied that the applicant and the establishment meet the criteria of these regulations.
- The guidelines under the Second Schedule, provide criteria for lodging, infrastructure, housing, general care, veterinary care, and other operational needs. These include the removal of wire mesh from the cage flooring, a veterinary practitioner’s health certificate for animals (rabbits, mice, hamsters and guinea pigs) for sale, and a documented activity plan for each puppy above 16 weeks of age.
- As per Section 8, every pet store owner must keep a record book with information on breeders and suppliers of pet animals, as well as trade transactions and their data. Customers who purchase pet animals must also keep records. A “mortality register” and a “health register” are also needed to be kept.
- As per Section 9(2), if the local government or SPCA receives a complaint alleging violation with these guidelines by pet store operators, an investigation will be launched. Animals that are found to be mistreated or unwell must be collected and taken to a registered animal protection group for care. As per Section 9(3) any expenditures required for the care and treatment of such animals will be borne by the pet store owner.
- As per Rule 9(5), if violations are identified during the inspection, the State Board must issue a notice of show cause to the owners. As per Rule 9(6), if the State Board is dissatisfied with the response obtained, or if no response is received from the owners, it may terminate the registration and notify the owners in writing. The pet business may be closed, or its registration reinstated, depending on the circumstances.
- As per Section 12, every licenced pet store owner is obliged to submit to the State Board an annual report outlining the total number of animals exchanged, boarded, or exhibited during the preceding year.
These Rules are made by the Central government for securing the comfort of the animals with regards to the space, temperature food and water. Cleanliness is given importance as to prevent animals form contracting any disease, infection. In cases where the animal is suffering from any illness the provisions has been made for its treatment. It is ensured that these Rules are complied with by providing proper authorities the power to take measures. These Rules are hence a welcome step towards in regulating the pet shops and making sure that they take due care of the animals so that pet animals are not ill-treated.