Help Animals in Cruel Pet Shops With These 9 Steps

Have you ever walked past a pet shop and noticed that it keeps live animals in squalor with the intention of selling them? Don’t freak out – instead, help the animals in these wretched stores with the following 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 shop, ask to speak to the owner. By politely voicing your concerns, you can let that person know that the public doesn’t tolerate cruelty to animals.
  1. Record what you see. It’s important to document anything that looks like it jeopardises animals’ well-being: take detailed notes (including the date and location), photos, and videos (using the Timestamp Camera app so that the time and location is noted) of the shop. Keep an eye out for sanitation issues, wild or exotic species for sale, cramped conditions, and physical and mental suffering.
  1. Make sure the animals receive help. If issues can be fixed by the owner, ask them to take action and follow up until the concerns have been addressed. For example, you may want to make sure puppies are kept in the shade and have soft bedding and clean water. If animals require veterinary care, ask the owner to arrange for it and check back later to make sure they got it. If the animals don’t receive help quickly, report the matter to an honorary animal welfare representative – as recognised by the Animal Welfare Board of India – or a local animal-protection group. You can even ask a private veterinarian if they will help for free or at a reduced cost. Private veterinarians can be found via Justdial.
  1. Familiarise yourself with the law. Pet shops are required to be registered with the State Animal Welfare Board as per Rule 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018. If you don’t see a licence or certificate of registration displayed in the pet shop – which every pet shop is required to display in a prominent place, as per Rule 3(2) of the Pet Shop Rules, 2018 – it’s safe to assume that it’s unregistered and hence operating illegally and in violation of the Rules. You can report illegal pet shops or violations by stores to the district collector of the area in question or to your state’s director of animal husbandry – just search the name of your state and “director animal husbandry” online to find contact information. 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.
  1. Report wild or exotic animals. If the store is selling birds or other animals protected by law, document their presence and notify the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau on 1800119334 as well as your state’s forest department – search the name of your state and “forest department” online to find contact information.
  1. File a first information report (FIR) with the police. If you notice a crime, file an FIR with the police under Section 325 of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, which states it is a punishable offence to mischievously kill or maim ANY animal. FIRs are required to set the process of criminal justice into motion: the authorities will only investigate a case after an FIR has been filed. Click here to find out how to do it. The police are required to take your FIR, but if for any reason they refuse, take the matter up with the superintendent of police or other higher-level officers. You can also file a private complaint with the court.
  1. Don’t take “no” for an answer. It’s wrong to harm animals, 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 shop to ensure it has made improvements. 
  1. Express your gratitude. Thanking the people who assisted you in helping animals goes a long way. Your compassion and consideration for everyone inspires others to be kind to animals. 
  1. Motivate others to adopt animals, not shop for them. Breeders and pet shops worsen the animal-overpopulation crisis: the repeated breeding and selling of animals prevents those in shelters or on the streets from finding permanent homes. Encourage your friends, colleagues, and family members 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] or call our office at 022 4072 7382, Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 6 pm. If you have an after-hours emergency, please call us on (0) 98201 22602.