Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023

What happens under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita if your pet animal attacks someone?

The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has hiked the punishment for one's pet animal attacking someone. Here's what the revised law says.

pet dogsOne user wrote that the fine wasn't even enough to cover their treatment costs in case they were bitten by a pet. (Express)

Under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), aimed at replacing the Indian Penal Code (IPC), if your pet animal attacks a human, you can be fined upto Rs 5,000 along with imprisonment upto six months.

Titled “Negligent conduct with respect to animal,” Section 291 of the BNS states: “whoever knowingly or negligently omits to take such measures with any animal in his possession as is sufficient to guard against any probable danger to human life, or any probable danger of grievous hurt from such animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.”

On the other hand, Section 289 of the IPC, which has the exact same wordings as Section 291 of the BNS, imposed a fine of upto Rs 1,000, along with imprisonment upto six months.


In September 2022, the Supreme Court had held that if stray dogs (who are not technically “owned” by anyone), attacked someone, then the people who routinely feed them could be made liable to bear the costs.

Many Indians on X responded positively to the changed law, while others complained that the fine was still too low. One user wrote that the fine wasn’t even enough to cover their treatment costs in case they were bitten by a pet.

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The latest NCRB Crime in India report reveals that animal attacks in 2022 rose by 19% from 2021. Another concerning trend was an increase in the number of people dying or getting injured in animal attacks.

The data shows that in 2022, 1,510 people in India died due to animal bites — 1,205 men and 305 women — this was a rise from 1,264 deaths in 2021.


According to a Rajya Sabha question answered by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on December 15, around 27.6 lakh people in India got bitten by dogs in 2023 — this was a rise of 26.5% from 2022, when 21.8 lakh dog bites were reported all over India.

First published on: 26-12-2023 at 10:46 IST
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