Have you ever walked by a pet store and noticed that it sells live animals and keeps them in squalor? Don’t freak out – instead, help the animals in wretched pet stores by taking these nine actions:
1. Make your voice heard. Change doesn’t happen on its own: If you see unhygienic conditions, animals in bad health, or severe crowding at a pet store, ask to speak to the owner. By politely voicing your concerns, you can let that person know that the public does not tolerate cruelty to animals.
2. Record what you see. It’s important to document anything that looks like it jeopardizes animals’ well-being by taking detailed notes (with the date and location), photos, and videos of the shop. Keep an eye out for sanitation issues, wild or exotic species for sale, cramped conditions, and physical and mental suffering.
3. Make sure the animals get help. For any issues that can be fixed by the owner, ask the person and follow up until they have been addressed. For example, you may want to make sure puppies are kept in the shade and have soft bedding and clean water. For animals who require veterinary care, ask the owner to arrange for it. Then check back to make sure it was done. If it doesn’t get done quickly, report the matter to an Honorary Animal Welfare Officer, as recognized by the Animal Welfare Board of India, or to a local animal-protection group. You can even try to recruit a private veterinarian and request that the person helps for free or at a reduced cost. Private veterinarians can be found via JustDial.com.
4. Familiarize yourself with the law. Learn about The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, so that you can identify legal violations and report them to the appropriate officials. This guide to understanding the PCA Act, 1960, from the Animal Welfare Board of India is also an excellent resource.
5. Report wild or exotic animals. If the store is selling birds or animals protected by law, document the animals’ presence and notify the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau on (011) 26182484 or (011) 26182483 and your state’s forest department. (Just search the name of your state and “forest department” on the internet for contact information.)
6. File a first information report (FIR) with the police. If you notice a crime, file an FIR with the police. They will investigate a case only after a FIR has been filed, so you need one to set the process of criminal justice into motion. Here’s how to do it. The police are required to take your FIR, but if it isn’t registered, take the matter up with the Superintendent of Police or other higher-level officers. You can also file a private complaint with the court.
7. Don’t take “no” for an answer. It’s wrong to harm animals and break the law, which is why the world needs people like you to take a stand against cruel pet shops. Follow up with the authorities about your complaint, and check back with the pet store to make sure it has made improvements.
8. Express your gratitude. Thanking the people who helped you help animals goes a long way: Your compassion and consideration for everyone inspires others to be kind to animals.
9. Motivate others to adopt, never shop. Breeders and pet shops worsen the animal-overpopulation crisis: The animals they churn out and sell steal homes from the ones who really need them – animals stuck in shelters or on the streets . Encourage your friends, colleagues, and family to adopt companion animals from shelters.
If you need more help or are ever unsure of what to do, write to us at [email protected]ia.org or call our office at 022 4072 7382, Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 6 pm. If it’s an after-hours emergency, please call us on (0) 98201 22602.