Dog Law UK

Dog Law

Controlling your dog in public

It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:

  • in a public place,
  •  a private place,
    eg, a neighbour’s garden,
  • in the owner’s home

Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:

  • it attacks someone’s animal
  • the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal

You can report a dangerous dog to your council’s dog warden service.

You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years or fined (or both).

If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.

If you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine (or both).

If you allow your dog to injure an assistance dog (for example a guide dog) you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years or fined (or both).

Dog Law

Compulsory mircochipping
of dogs (6 April 2006)

You must make sure your dog is fitted with a microchip by the time it’s 8 weeks old.

You can be fined up to £500 if your dog is not microchipped.

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 mandates that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag.
Your telephone number is optional (but advisable).

Certain dogs are exempt from having to wear a collar with a dog tag:

• Any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
• Any dog while being used in emergency rescue work.
• Any dog while being used on official duties by a member of HerMajesty’s Armed Forces, HM Customs and Excise or the police.
• Any dog while being used for driving or tending cattle or sheep.
• Any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin.
• Any dog while being used for sporting purposes.
• Any pack of hounds.

If a dog is found in a public place without a collar/ tag with these details on, the dog’s owner can be fined up to £5000!

Breeders who breed five or more litters per year must be licensed by their local authority. Breeders with fewer litters must also be licensed if they are carrying out a business of breeding dogs for sale.
Licensed breeders must:
a) Not mate a bitch less than 12 months old.
b) Not whelp more than six litters from a bitch.
c) Not whelp two litters within a 12 month period from the same bitch.
d) Keep accurate records.
e) Not sell a puppy until it is at least eight weeks of age, other than to a keeper of a licensed pet shop or Scottish rearing establishment.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, If your dog’s barking causes a serious nuisance to neighbours, the local authority can deal with the matter as a ’statutory nuisance’ under this act.

The law applies to all dogs

Dog Law

PSPOs

Some public areas in England and Wales are covered by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) –
In public areas with PSPOs . . .

  • Keep your dog on a lead
  • Put your dog on a lead if told to by a police officer, police community support officer or someone from the council
  • Stop your dog going to certain places – like farmland or parts of a park
  • Limit the number of dogs you have with you (this applies to professional dog walkers too)
  • Clear up after your dog
  • Carry a poop scoop and disposable bags.
  •  

Local councils must let the public know where PSPOs are in place.

For Example: If dogs are not allowed in a park, there must be signs saying so.

If the council plans to put a new PSPO in place, it must put up a notice and publish it on its website.

The notice must tell you:

  • Where the new PSPO will apply
  • If there’s a map and where you can see it

If you ignore a PSPO you can be fined:

  • £100 on the spot (a ‘Fixed Penalty Notice’)
  • up to £1,000 if it goes to court

Animal Welfare Act 2006

Unnecessary Suffering

(a) An act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer,

(b) He knew, or ought reasonably to have known, that the act, or failure to act, would have that effect or be likely to do so,

(c) The animal is a protected animal, and

(d) The suffering is unnecessary.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) He is responsible for an animal,

(b) An act, or failure to act, of another person causes the animal to suffer,

(c) He permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening, and

(d) The suffering is unnecessary.

(3) The considerations to which it is relevant to have regard when determining for the purposes of this section whether suffering is unnecessary include—

(a) Whether the suffering could reasonably have been avoided or reduced;

(b) Whether the conduct which caused the suffering was in compliance with any relevant enactment or any relevant provisions of a licence or code of practice issued under an enactment;

(c) Whether the conduct which caused the suffering was for a legitimate purpose, such as—

(i) The purpose of benefiting the animal, or

(ii) The purpose of protecting a person, property or another animal;

(d) Whether the suffering was proportionate to the purpose of the conduct concerned;

(e) Whether the conduct concerned was in all the circumstances that of a reasonably competent and humane person.

(3A) In determining for the purposes of subsection

(1) whether suffering is unnecessary in a case where it was caused by conduct for a purpose mentioned in subsection (3)(c)(ii), the fact that the conduct was for that purpose is to be disregarded if—

(a) The animal was under the control of a relevant officer at the time of the conduct,

(b) It was being used by that officer at that time, in the course of the officer’s duties, in a way that was reasonable in all the circumstances, and

(c) That officer is not the defendant.

(3B) Insubsection (3A) “relevant officer” means—

(a )A constable;

(b) A person (other than a constable) who has the powers of a constable or is otherwise employed for police purposes or is engaged to provide services for police purposes;

(c) A prisoner custody officer within the meaning of Part 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

(3C) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend subsection (3B).

Only a person in the public service of the Crown may be specified in subsection (3B) by virtue of regulations under this subsection.]

(4) Nothing in this section applies to the destruction of an animal in an appropriate and humane manner.

A person commits an offence if he—

Causes an animal fight to take place, or attempts to do so;

Knowingly receives money for admission to an animal fight;

Knowingly publicises a proposed animal fight;

Provides information about an animal fight to another with the intention of enabling or encouraging attendance at the fight;

Makes or accepts a bet on the outcome of an animal fight or on the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring in the course of an animal fight;

Takes part in an animal fight;

Has in his possession anything designed or adapted for use in connection with an animal fight with the intention of its being so used;

Keeps or trains an animal for use for in connection with an animal fight;

Keeps any premises for use for an animal fight.

A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he is present at an animal fight.

*Knowingly supplies a video recording of an animal fight,

*Knowingly publishes a video recording of an animal fight,

*Knowingly shows a video recording of an animal fight to another, or

*Possesses a video recording of an animal fight, knowing it to be such a recording, with the intention of supplying it.

*Does not apply in the case of supplying of a video recording for inclusion in a programme service.

Animal_welfare

mutilation

(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) He carries out a prohibited procedure on a protected animal;

(b) He causes such a procedure to be carried out on such an animal.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) He is responsible for an animal,

(b) Another person carries out a prohibited procedure on the animal, and

(c) He permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening.

(3) References in this section to the carrying out of a prohibited procedure on an animal are to the carrying out of a procedure which involves interference with the sensitive tissues or bone structure of the animal, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment.

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply in such circumstances as the appropriate national authority may specify by regulations.

(5) Before making regulations under subsection (4), the appropriate national authority shall consult such persons appearing to the authority to represent any interests concerned as the authority considers appropriate.

(6) Nothing in this section applies to the removal of the whole or any part of a dog’s tail.

(1) A person commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he—

(a) Administers any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to a protected animal, knowing it to be poisonous or injurious, or

(b)causes any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to be taken by a protected animal, knowing it to be poisonous or injurious.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) He is responsible for an animal,

(b) Without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, another person administers a poisonous or injurious drug or substance to the animal or causes the animal to take such a drug or substance, and

(c) He permitted that to happen or, knowing the drug or substance to be poisonous or injurious, he failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening.

(3) In this section, references to a poisonous or injurious drug or substance include a drug or substance which, by virtue of the quantity or manner in which it is administered or taken, has the effect of a poisonous or injurious drug or substance.

A person commits an offence if he does not take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of an animal for which he is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice.

An animal’s needs shall be taken to include:

  • Its need for a suitable environment
  • Its need for a suitable diet
  • Its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • Any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • Its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
animal_welfare_act

Docking of dogs' tails

A person commits an offence if—

(a) He removes the whole or any part of a dog’s tail, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment;

(b) He causes the whole or any part of a dog’s tail to be removed by another person, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment.

(2) A person commits an offence if—

(a) He is responsible for a dog,

(b) Another person removes the whole or any part of the dog’s tail, otherwise than for the purpose of its medical treatment, and

(c) He permitted that to happen or failed to take such steps (whether by way of supervising the other person or otherwise) as were reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent that happening.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if the dog is a certified working dog that is not more than 5 days old.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), a dog is a certified working dog if a veterinary surgeon has certified, in accordance with regulations made by the appropriate national authority, that the first and second conditions mentioned below are met.

(5) The first condition referred to in subsection (4) is that there has been produced to the veterinary surgeon such evidence as the appropriate national authority may by regulations require for the purpose of showing that the dog is likely to be used for work in connection with—

(a) Law enforcement,

(b) Activities of Her Majesty’s armed forces,

(c) Emergency rescue,

(d) Lawful pest control, or

(e) The lawful shooting of animals.

(6) The second condition referred to in subsection (4) is that the dog is of a type specified for the purposes of this subsection by regulations made by the appropriate national authority.

(7) It is a defence for a person accused of an offence under subsection (1) or (2) to show that he reasonably believed that the dog was one in relation to which subsection (3) applies.

(8) A person commits an offence if—

(a) He owns a subsection (3) dog, and

(b) Fails to take reasonable steps to secure that, before the dog is 3 months old, it is identified as a subsection (3) dog in accordance with regulations made by the appropriate national authority.

(9) A person commits an offence if—

(a) He shows a dog at an event to which members of the public are admitted on payment of a fee,

(b) The dog’s tail has been wholly or partly removed (in England and Wales or elsewhere), and

(c) Removal took place on or after the commencement day.

(10) Where a dog is shown only for the purpose of demonstrating its working ability, subsection (9) does not apply if the dog is a subsection (3) dog.

(11) It is a defence for a person accused of an offence under subsection (9) to show that he reasonably believed—

(a) That the event was not one to which members of the public were admitted on payment of an entrance fee,

(b) That the removal took place before the commencement day, or

(c) That the dog was one in relation to which subsection (10) applies.

(12) A person commits an offence if he knowingly gives false information to a veterinary surgeon in connection with the giving of a certificate for the purposes of this section.

(13) The appropriate national authority may by regulations make provision about the functions of inspectors in relation to—

(a) Certificates for the purposes of this section, and

(b) The identification of dogs as subsection (3) dogs.

(14) Power to make regulations under this section includes power—

(a) To make different provision for different cases, and

(b) To make incidental, supplementary, consequential or transitional provision or savings.

(15) Before making regulations under this section, the appropriate national authority shall consult such persons appearing to the authority to represent any interests concerned as the authority considers appropriate.

(16) In this section—

“commencement day” means the day on which this section comes into force;

“subsection (3) dog” means a dog whose tail has, on or after the commencement day, been wholly or partly removed without contravening subsection (1), because of the application of subsection (3).

Animal cruelty is a criminal offence. Allowing a dog to suffer unnecessarily could put you in prison for six months, a £20,000 fine, and a ban on keeping animals. 

(1) A person commits an offence if he sells an animal to a person whom he has
reasonable cause to believe to be under the age of 16 years.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), selling an animal includes transferring, or
agreeing to transfer, ownership of the animal in consideration of entry by the
transferee into another transaction.
(3) Subject to subsections (4) to (6), a person commits an offence if—
(a) he enters into an arrangement with a person whom he has reasonable
cause to believe to be under the age of 16 years, and
(b) the arrangement is one under which that person has the chance to win
an animal as a prize.
(4) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (3) if—
(a) he enters into the arrangement in the presence of the person with whom
the arrangement is made, and
(b) he has reasonable cause to believe that the person with whom the
arrangement is made is accompanied by a person who is not under the
age of 16 years.
(5) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (3) if—
(a) he enters into the arrangement otherwise than in the presence of the
person with whom the arrangement is made, and
(b) he has reasonable cause to believe that a person who has actual care and
control of the person with whom the arrangement is made has
consented to the arrangement.
(6) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (3) if he enters into the
arrangement in a family context.

Code Of Practice

Dog Law

What you should know

The United Kingdom”s Animal Welfare Act was passed in 2006 which makes it an offence to mistreat or neglect an animal for which someone is responsible.

A person may be prosecuted by the RSPCA, Local Authority or Police for failure to uphold the welfare principles of the Act.

Understanding the
welfare act

code_of_practice_for_the_welfare_of_dogs

Owners can be taken to court if they don’t look after their pets properly and face a prison sentence of up to six months, and a fine of up to £20,000. They may also have their pet taken away from them, or be banned from having pets in the future.

Dog Law

A dog’s basic needs
must be met:

  1. its need for a suitable environment
  2. its need for a suitable diet
  3. its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour
  4. any need it has to be housed with, or kept apart from, other animals
  5. its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Highway code & Road Traffic Act 1988

Dog Law

Highway Code Rule 56

Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders.

Parliament sets the maximum penalties for road traffic offences. The seriousness of the offence is reflected in the maximum penalty. It is for the courts to decide what sentence to impose according to circumstances.

Running over a dog in the UK

In the UK, dog owners are held responsible if their pet is run over by a car.

The road traffic act 1988 specifically states that any person who allows a dog to run onto a road off the lead is guilty of an offence. The owner is also responsible for any veterinary costs and, potentially, for the cost of repairs to the vehicle involved.

If a dog is injured in a car accident, the driver must stop and give their details to the person in charge of the dog.

If there is no person in charge of the dog, the incident must be reported to the police within 24 hours.

Dog Law

Highway Code Rule 57

When in a vehicle make sure dogs are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.

A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.

An unrestrained pet can attract a fine of up to £5,000 for careless driving.

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