Street Dogs And Their ‘Rights’

This page is to help you become more aware of the rights and laws with regard to street dogs and their  caretakers, so that we can all tactfully and astutely handle confronting situations our neighbours ‘love’ to create when they see our love for dogs.

The below information and documents have been carefully compiled by us. Please use them, take print outs, circulate them to spread awareness on the subject or in situations, whenever you feel harassed by your local RWA or any other person who attempts to harass you for befriending street dogs, for these animals have as much a right to inhabit the areas they were born in as we do.


Where these street dogs are born is where they belong.

To summarise the content of this page, there is no law that prohibits feeding of street animals, and that citizens who choose to do so are in fact performing a duty cast upon them by the Constitution of India. Persons who are trying to interfere with their effort, or display aggression, can be held liable for having committed the offence described in the Indian Penal Code and criminal intimidation. Moreover, that as per Indian law, street dogs cannot be beaten or driven away.  Please remember that the only humane, legal and scientific way of dealing with street dogs is to get them vaccinated and sterilized under Animal Birth Control Programme (ABC). Under this program, stray dogs are picked up, neutered, vaccinated against rabies and released in the respective areas from where they had been captured, which is in accordance with the Animal Birth Control Rules 2001 framed, under Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and as per the orders of Honourable Supreme Court of India.


Animal Birth Control Programme comprises of two components:

  • Sterilization of street dogs, which is the surgical removal of their sex organs (specifically, surgical removal of uterus in case of female dogs and surgical removal of testicles of male dogs) and;
  • Administration of an Anti Rabies Vaccine, prior to the dogs being released in the same area where they were picked up from.

Advantages of Animal Birth Control Programme are as follows:

  • Sterilization helps calm the dogs down and restricts their numbers.
  • There is scientific thought behind restoring a sterilized dog to his original habitat. Dogs are territorial animals. They mark out their territories based on the food available and they do not let outsiders come in. When these local dogs are removed from their territory, other dogs move in to occupy them. These may not be sterilized so the problem continues for that locality. Dog fights increase as any new dog entering a territory is attacked by the dogs already in that area and non-sterilized dogs continue to mate and produce litters. Rabies continues to spread as none of the dogs in that area are vaccinated against it. The new dogs are hostile to the residents so problems of safety continue. A sterilized and vaccinated dog doesn’t breed, they guard their territory from intruders and new dogs, and they become docile and don’t fight with other dogs during the mating season.
  • Getting dogs sterilized is the best form of welfare we can all do for street dogs, as these dogs will be vaccinated in the process and will not have to give birth to pups anymore, something they can’t otherwise do without human intervention.
  • Only Dogs above the age of 4 months can be picked up for sterilization
  • The right ear of sterilized dogs is notched/cut at the tip as a mark of identification.

The Laws Governing Street Dog Sterilization In India:

Government of India notified the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 vide the Gazette of India: Extra Ordinary Part II – Sec. 3 – sub section.II dated 24th December 2001 to implement sterilization and vaccination of street/community dogs to control the dog population.

As per Indian law, street dogs cannot be beaten, killed or driven away or displaced or dislocated, they can only be sterilized in the manner envisaged in the The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001  enacted under the Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (A Central Act), vaccinated, and then returned back to their original locations.

Rule 6 and Rule 7 of The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, state as follows:

  • Rule 6 clearly envisages that even if the Municipal Corporation thinks it expedient to control street dog populations; IT CANNOT RESORT TO KILLING OR DISLOCATING. It can only sterilize and immunize the dogs, and then leave them at the locations that they had been picked up from.
  • Rule 7 deals with the procedure to be followed upon receipt of a complaint. Please also note, the Municipality, cannot just pick up dogs, simply because some persons/administrators don’t like their being around. Even the dogs that are complained about can only be sterilized and immunized, and then left back at the locations that they had been picked up from.

Please note there is a specific bar against dislocating dogs, since the same tends to interfere with and jeopardize the area-wise animal birth control. For the area-wise sterilization program mandated by law, dogs have to be returned back to their original habitat after sterilization and immunization. These dogs then tend to fight off other, newer, possibly unsterilized and unvaccinated dogs from entering their territories, since dogs are highly territorial in nature. Dislocation of street dogs has time and again proven to be counter-productive and only favours the entry of other non-sterilized street dogs into the area, which will not only be unknown to you but also to those who tend to the area’s street dogs, thus raising more cases of man-animal conflict.

Ministry Of Public Grievances Circular On Street Dogs To Central Govt Employees Dated 26.5.2006

The Stray feeding guidelines by the Department of Personnel & Training, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, New Delhi letter no.F.No.30/9/2006-WELFARE dated 26.5.2006, applicable for:

  • Treatment of street dogs by government servants:
    If any Govt. Servant indulges in act of cruelty to animals he will be making himself liable for action under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Besides, punishment under the Act, he would also make himself liable for action under CCS (Conduct) Rules for conduct unbecoming of a Govt. Servant.
  • Resident Welfare Associations, citizens and others:
    Stray animals are to be dealt with through designated agencies in Govt./local self-government organizations/ NGO’s etc.  Recognised Associations in Govt. colonies may approach such Institutions for redressal of their grievances. All the problems of stray animals have to be handled within the institutional framework available and NO resident association, recognized or unrecognized, shall take recourse to action on their own, either themselves or through any person employed by them like security guards etc.