In this article, Ayushi Sunder of NALSAR discusses the licensing and registration for opening a pet shop in India.
PET SHOP RULES, 2010
Pet shop rules are legalised standards enshrined to ensure humane handling of animals and to regulate these commercialised establishments. These rules are drafted in accordance with section 38 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It is for such regulation that calls for operational parameters such as licenses and registration of pet shops.
OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY
The primary objectives of the policy regulations standardised by the Pet shop rules are to:
- Ensure that sale of a tender-aged animal is avoided.
- Ensure that reasonable precautions are taken to avoid untimely deaths and spread of contagious diseases.
- Ensure animals/birds are provided with adequate and appropriate food and water that is essential for the breed of such species.
- Keep sale of potential pet animals under check and under-regulated limits.
- Ensure initiation of appropriate action against the policy defaulters and for non-compliance with terms and conditions.
- Regulate individual/privately operating groups (falling within the jurisdiction of Municipal Corporations of the State) conducting sale and purchase business of animals.
The pet shop rules lay down certain definitions that cater to the subject-matter of this theme:
- Section 2(b) of the rules tend to elaborate the term “Animal”. It declares that the term refers to any alive being apart from plant and human.
- Section 2(h) states “license” shall mean a legal approval granted under these rules.
- Section 2(k) takes into its ambit all shops, premises and markets that are involved in sale/exhibition/wholesale business of animals (in form of pets) and demarcate them as “Pet Shops”.
- Section 2(m) defines any person with legal ownership of a shop that is licensed to conduct trade/sale of animals as a “Pet Shopkeeper” or “Pet Shop owner”.
REGISTRATION OF PET SHOP
Section 3 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2016 lays down a prohibition on the operation of a pet shop or any other commercial establishment dealing with same without a registration certificate. This provision not only emphasises the obtaining of registration certificate but also mandates the prominent display of the certificate in the shops.
ELIGIBILITY FOR REGISTRATION
Individual attempting to get his/her pet shop registered shall be:
- A major (aged 18 or above)
- Of Sound Mind
- Not disqualified by law from entering into a contract
In case person refers to association/corporation/company, such association/corporation/company shall be duly registered with the law.
For the purposes of registration, an application in the form appended to First scheduled along with a non-refundable fee of Rs 5,000/- has to be made to the state board. A separate application has to be made for every distinct premise to be registered. (Click here to access the form- http://126.96.36.199/csbsdmc/vtl/vtlregistration.php)
- After receiving the application, the State board directs a team comprising of a veterinary practitioner, representative of State Board and authorised representative of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to conduct an inspection of the mentioned shop.
- The team is to submit a report, to the state board, based on its findings in the inspection.
- The state board may, after considering the report submitted by the team, and satisfying itself that the shop fulfils the requirements, register the shop by:
- Issuing a registration certificate
- Recording the details of the shop in the register maintained for the same purpose.
CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION
The validity period of a certificate of registration, as issued by State Board extends up to 2 years and is subject to renewal on payment of a fee of five thousand rupees. Such a certificate is non-transferable in nature.
RENEWAL OF REGISTRATION
In order to effect a renewal of registration, an application for the same shall be made 30 days before the date of expiry of registration. The application shall be made to the state board, in the format provided in the Form appended to First Schedule.
DENIAL OF REGISTRATION
The State Board reserves the authority to deny an application for registration of pet shop under following circumstances:
(a) Falsified information or manipulated accounts and instances of deliberate misrepresentation is detected in the application product by the applicant.
(b) The applicant, prior to the submission of application and been convicted of any offence relating to animals.
(c) Applicant denies permitting the inspector free access to his premises of pet shop.
(d) The applicant was operating a shop with possessing a license that led to seizure a dealing of the same.
The State Board is required to record its reasons in the event of denying an application for registration.
LICENSING OF PET SHOPS
Step 1 : TERMS & CONDITIONS
Section 3 of Pet Shop Rules, 2010 draft and lay down the terms & conditions that are to be followed while applying for licensing of a pet shop.
- No person/entity is permitted to establish and operate any commercial establishment/pet shop without obtaining a license.
- License for establishing and operating pet shop shall be granted only upon an application submitted, in prescribed format, to Animal Welfare Board of India.
- Those individuals/entities that are already carrying out the operation of pet shops prior the introduction of these rules shall obtain a license by applying within 60 days from the commencement of the rules.
- To be eligible to apply for a license, the individual should be a major (aged 18 or above). In case the person refers to corporation/company/legal association, the same shall be duly registered with the law.
- Every applicant is required to get his facilities inspected both by local authority and board. This inspection is required to ensure that facilities offered by applicant comply with the regulations, before the grant of license.
- Grant of the license will be denied under following circumstances:
- In event of the applicant failing to fulfil the requirements set up under the labels of ‘Accommodation, Infrastructure, and Housing’, ‘Minimum Space Requirements’, and, ‘General Care of Animals, Veterinary Care, and Other Operational Requirements’.
- Falsified information or manipulated accounts and instances of deliberate misrepresentation is detected in the application product by the applicant.
- The applicant, prior to the submission of application and been convicted of any offence relating to animals.
- Applicant denies permitting the inspector free access to his premises of pet shop.
- The applicant was operating a shop with possessing a license that led to seizure a dealing of the same.
The below-mentioned entities do not need a license to operate:
- A veterinary clinic/hospital
- An establishment that undertakes tasks for the betterment of animals and not engages in commercial animal trade.
- A shelter for animals operated by Animal Welfare Organisation
Step II – PROCEDURE FOLLOWED TO OBTAIN LICENSE
SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION
The applicant in order to acquire/renew a license has to submit an application for the same to the Animal Welfare Board of India, in the format prescribed in schedule I.
GRANT OF LICENSE
- When both representatives of board and local authority are satisfied with facilities offered by applicant they may sanction the grant of license to applicant for period of two years, on payment of a license fee of Rs 5,000/-
- The inspection report submitted by the inspection team needs to be duly signed by the inspector and accompanied by the application. True copy needs to be sent to Animal Welfare Board of India whereas the original is to retained by the local authority.
REJECTION & APPEAL
- In case the local authority/representative of the board is of the opinion that facilities of the applicant are not satisfactory for the purposes of awarding a license, then application requesting of grant of the license will be rejected.
- The applicant is conferred with the right to make an appeal against such rejection but is limited to time period of 30 days from the date of receipt of rejection notice. In case the applicant expresses a desire to be heard, a personal hearing is to be granted to him by the appellate authority.
- The appellate authority altering taking consideration of the appeal and the arguments produced by both parties may reject/allow the appeal, contemporaneously recording the reasons for its decision.
RENEWAL OF LICENSE
- In order to get a license renewed, the pet shop owner is required to submit an application for renewal in the format of application for grant of license. Such application is to be made 30 days prior the expiry date of the license. He is also required to pay a fee of Rs1,000/- to the local authority.
- It is the discretion of the local authority and the representative of the board to re-inspect the premises of the pet shop owner, on receipt of such application.
- In event of the applicant failing to get the license renewed within stipulated time-period, then he will have to submit an application for a fresh license.
- Renewal of license is valid for period 2 years.
GENERAL PRACTICES TO BE OBSERVED BY PET-SHOP KEEPERS
Apart from the legal requirements, there are numerous other conditions that the Shopkeepers are needed to maintain while operating their respective shops:
- Aquariums are to keep for the sale of fish and all adequate arrangements have to organised by the pet shop owners.
- Pet shops are not permitted to sell any animal for the purposes of food.
- It is mandatory for a pet shop to follow and maintain strictly all procedures of animal care and cautioned handling of breeds.
- Appropriate fire extinguishing equipment must be installed and maintained in shop premises.
- Preventive measures and daily routine care accompanied by veterinary aid shall be maintained.
- Pet shops shall not put any animal/bird for sale/exhibition outside the premises of the shop.
- Adequate arrangements for waste disposal in order to maintain cleanliness standards are essential.
- It shall be ensured that animals placed in same compartment exhibit compatibility towards each other.
- It is for the pet shop owner to ensure that pup/kitten is weaned and properly vaccinated before sale.
- Accommodation accessories offered should be appropriate for the species.
- Food meant for animals and birds should be packed and stored in sealed containers in order to avoid contamination. Freshwater and fresh, smell-free foods is to be provided to all animals/birds in the shop.
- Appropriate provision of electricity has to be maintained in shop premises. All pets are kept in safe condition.
- Accommodation should be cleaned on regular basis to maintain hygiene and cleanliness.
- Accommodation should be maintained in good order and crafted as per the suitable conditions of animals and birds- temperature, lighting, ventilation.
- Grant of the license will be for only those animals/birds the sale of which is not prohibited under Wildlife Act 1972.
LATEST POLICY SCENARIO
‘The new policy on trade of pets is still in its conception stage and will “take some time to come into effect’
Though the concretised document of the new policy is not out yet, the grounds for premising the new policy have been set:
- License fee will be increased
- Sale of birds and fish are not given an adequate amount of attention in the existing policy, and therefore the upcoming policy shall be laying emphasis on the sale of birds or fish accounted for.
- In event of any pet shop treating animals with cruelty, heavy fines will be reimposed on such shop-owners.
- NGOs often claim that caging birds and animals is an exhibition of cruelty towards animals/birds, they refute the contention that caging of animals/birds fall within the ordinary course of business of the pet shops. Challenging the nature of the business carried out by pet shops and claiming harassment of animals/birds, NGOs and pet shops are often involved in the clash. The clash between NGOs and pet shops shall be sought via the instrument of the new policy.
IMPORT OF PETS – A NEW DIMENSION
- The governmental authorities have imposed a barrier on the import of foreign breeds of dogs for purposes of sale/exhibition/trade. Import shall now be allowed only to equip defence and police forces.
- Those intending to import such foreign breeds will be required to acquire recommendation from Committee for purpose of Control (that will be monitoring the purposes of import) and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (to keep in check the manner in which animals are treated).
- Purchasing a foreign breed in India is made more expensive in an attempt to discourage the inclination toward foreign breeds.
- Only those possessing the valid documents for import shall be permitted to bring pets in the territorial boundaries.
- The Law Commission report no. 261 observes that pet shops and breeders violate provisions of animal welfare laws with impunity, and recommends that it is necessary to regulate their practices.