Govt prepares draft guidelines on sale of pets

Pet shop owners will be issued a licence from the local body or the Board only after undergoing a test to assess the knowledge of the applicant about animal protection laws, said the draft prepared by the Environment Ministry which has invited suggestions and objections to it.

The licence will be renewed every year after inspection according to which no animal will be sold to anyone under 18, it added. "Accordingly, an amount of Rs  5,000 may be charged from the pet shop owners as the licence fee. The fee for renewal for the licence shall be Rs 2,000 per annum," said the rules which will be applicable on shops where animals are housed and exhibited for sale.

However farms, cattle fares or traditional weekly markets which are part of traditional lifestyle of the community, have been kept out of its ambit. "The move is aimed at ensuring compassionate treatment to the animals in the pet shops. There is presently no deterrent law to ensure proper handling and comfort to animals in pet shops," AWBI chairman R M Kharb said.

He explained that it has been noticed that live animals are often exhibited and traded like commodities in pet shops. "Also, many pet shops are next to butcher shops, where carcasses of slaughtered animals or birds are hung for sale in full vision of the live animals waiting to be sold. "In most cases, cages are often crammed with animals or birds and exhibited outside the shops along with hoardings or in front of shops in open sun light," he added.

The shop owners keeping dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, budgerigar, parrot, canary, dove and pigeons have been brought under the ambit of the rules. The rules ensure that animals are supplied adequate food and drinking water, not sold at a tender age and that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent unnatural deaths and spread of infectious diseases.

The proposed guidelines also define in details operational standards for a pet shop or pet grooming facility, including minimum standard for sanitation, ventilation, heating, cooling, humidity, enclosure requirements, nutrition and medical treatment. These rules also aim at restricting the sale of puppies and kittens under the age of eight weeks as well pregnant animals.

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