The problem of stray animals roaming on the road in India is difficult to solve mainly due to religious and political reasons.

However, not all animals are claimed but animals such as goats are left to roam on the road during the day and kept inside the house/farm at night. It's a road safety issue as these animals often get hit by vehicles and the animal owners ask for the monetary compensation.

What are the laws to deal with the stray animals and can the animal owners be punished in the aforementioned condition?

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    I would strongly suspect that the rule is not uniform for all of India. There are probably different rules in urban areas and in more rural areas. By analogy, some rural U.S. states (mostly in the West) are "fence out" states that allow roaming animals, while most more urban and Eastern U.S. states are "fence in" states where animal owners are required to fence them in and roaming is not permitted.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 17, 2023 at 18:30
  • One of my first bosses, who was very nice had this story: Her dad was in a car accident and left blind because of cattle on the road. They sued and lost, but it is my belief (I am in no way a lawyer or even close) that these days they'd win such a suit, and probably should have won even back then. All this is US Jul 18, 2023 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


There's nothing that I can find that specifically refers to any offence for allowing one's goats to roam free, but there are at least two national, and probably more at state / municipal level, laws that deal with obstructing the highway - therefore potentially making the goat owner liable for any injury or damage shown to be caused by their (in)action:

Punishment for mischief by injury to national highway.--

Whoever commits mischief by doing any act which renders or which he knows to be likely to render any national highway referred to in sub-section (1) of section 8A impassable or less safe for traveling or conveying property, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with a fine, or with both.

Whoever, by doing any act, or by omitting to take order with any property in his possession or under his charge, causes danger, obstruction or injury to any person in any public way or public line of navigation, shall be punished, with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees.

There are also animal-welfare related laws to consider, such as:

Negligent conduct with respect to animal.

Whoever knowingly or negligently omits to take such order 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 one thousand rupees, or with both.

  • Section 3 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act:

Duties of persons having charge of animals.

It shall be the duty of every person having the care or charge of any animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering.

  • Seems like there's no specific law regarding this. Actually this situation wasn't as intense as it's today because of the virtual ban on cow slaughter (in most of the places) which leaves unfit or unwanted animals roaming on roads. The mechanisation of agriculture has also contributed in the high number of unwanted animals. In a similar situation (especially in semi-urban areas) people leave their animals (goats especially) to "graze outside" during the day.
    – ShivCK
    Jul 19, 2023 at 12:21
  • Yep, and I deliberately avoided mentioning the sacred cow as it would be IMO a distraction to the generality of the question.
    – user35069
    Jul 19, 2023 at 12:30

United Kingdom

In UK there are many areas where 'owned' grazing animals roam freely: the New Forest, moorland, mountain roads etc. If you hit one, it's not the fault of the person who owns it, although someone with the animal(s) must take proper control of them. Compare this with hitting a wild creature such as a deer - who are you going to sue?

Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 requires that if the animal is a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog the driver must stop and provide their identity, details of insurance, etc. to any involved party.

If you can't do that, you must report the accident at a police station.

For that list of animals, the requirements are the same as causing damage to a person, to another vehicle or to property.

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    I don't have a reference, but I think there's a difference of expectation on enclosed roads compared to unfenced roads. Anyone confirm or refute that? Jul 18, 2023 at 9:24
  • 2
    @TobySpeight the Animals Act 1971 s4 entertains the concept of trespassing livestock, on whose owners it places liability for damage they do. It doesn't seem like the right for owners to allow their animals to stray onto land they don't own is a default position; it seems more likely open grazing land with highways on it has specific permissions attached to it for owners to allow their animals to roam there.
    – Will
    Jul 18, 2023 at 10:21

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