The Centre has notified rules to regulate and monitor pet shops in India and set standards for housing and caring for animals in shops that sell or purchase them.

Under the new Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, all pet shops will have to get a certificate of registration from the State Animal Welfare Board. “No person shall carry on or continue the business of sale or trade in pet animals, whether retail or wholesale; or establish or operate a pet shop, or any other establishment engaged in sale, purchase or exchange of pet animals by whatever name called, without obtaining a certificate of registration,” the rules read.

The draft rules were first floated in December 2016, seeking suggestions and objections from stakeholders. They were notified on September 6.

The registered pet shops also have to submit an annual report to the state board about the number of “animals sold, traded, bartered, brokered, given away, boarded, exhibited, died or euthanised” in the previous year.

“Every puppy shall be micro-chipped by a veterinary practitioner, and each pet shop shall have a functional micro-chip reader within the premises and it is a requirement of these rules that only micro-chipped puppies shall be sold,” the rules added.

Under the new rules, pet shop owners have to ensure that the animals are displayed or housed in an accommodation that is suitable to the species. The shops must be located in a permanent structure or building with adequate arrangement for basic amenities such as water and electricity, and they must be at least 100 metres away from butcher shops or abattoirs, the rules added. It also specifies the need for a separate section to quarantine animals that are unwell.

The rules also direct pet shop owners to maintain a record book, which should have particulars of breeders and suppliers of pet animals intended for sale.

“The State Board may, if it is not satisfied with the response of the pet shop owner, or if no response is received, cancel the registration and communicate the reasons thereof in writing to the pet shop owner,” the rules said.

“The situation in pet shops demanded a crying need for regulation and we are pleased that the government and the Environment Ministry supported us in identifying the issue,” said Gauri Maulekhi, a trustee at People For Animals, according to PTI. “The notification of these rules is half the battle won, and what we now await is a thorough implementation of these rules to ensure that no pet shop owner is allowed to thrive illegally.”