One health (human, animal, plant and environment)

Hyderabad veterinary doctor booked over medical negligence over the treatment of a dog

Dr KK Aggarwal

Following the death of an 11-month-old pet dog belonging to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Raos official residence Pragati Bhavan, a case has been registered against a private veterinary doctor based on a complaint from the dogs caretaker. The dog was shifted to Animal Care clinic located in Banjara Hills where the dog was provided treatment. While the doctor was administering some injections, the dog died.

The Banjara Hills police have registered a case against Dr Ranjit of Animal Care under IPC Section 429 (Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal) and section 11 (1) (c) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act,  1960.

  • IPC 429.Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal of the value of fifty rupees.—Whoever commits mis­chief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless, any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow or ox, whatever may be the value thereof, or any other animal of the value of fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.
  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act:“(c) wilfully and unreasonably administers any injurious drug or injurious substance to [any animal] or wilfully and unreasonably causes or attempts to cause any such drug or substance to be taken by [any animal]; or”

Proving that veterinary malpractice injured an animal is essentially the same as proving that medical malpractice injured a person. The owner of the pet would need to show that the vet was responsible for caring for the animal, and the vet did not meet the standard of a competent vet treating an animal in a similar situation.

This may involve hiring another vet to testify as an expert witness and explain what a competent vet would have done in similar circumstances.

Damages awarded in veterinary malpractice cases tend to be relatively limited. In the west, many vets have now started to carry medical malpractice insurance.

In both the applicable laws – IPC Section 429 and section 11 (1) (c) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960 – the intent has to be proven and not negligence.

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