Whiskers In The Cotswolds
As responsible dog owner, we need to know about dog laws – our rights and responsibilities. It is important for dog owners to meet with the requirements of the law.
The laws apply to any person that is in charge of a dog that means the dog owner, person in the charge of the dog below are a number of Acts and Orders which all dog owners and dog handlers need to be aware of.
Animal Welfare Act 2006 (PDF) - This Act came into force on the 27th March 2007 in Wales and the 6th April 2007 in England. The new Act increases and introduces new penalties to deal with acts of cruelty, and obligation of care to animals. This means that a people who owns a, dog, or looks after a dog and other animals are now legally obliged to ensure the welfare of the animals in their care. When an animal is in your care you are covered by the Act.
For example: Any neglect, mutilation, tail docking, animal fighting and the giving of pets as prizes. In addition to this it will introduce a duty of care for all pet owners to provide for their animals a suitable environment, a suitable diet, the ability to exhibit normal behaviour patterns, protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease and consideration of the animal’s needs to be housed with, or apart from, other animals.
The Control of Dogs Order 1992 - This means that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address and postcode of the owner engraved on a disc tag. Your telephone number is optional (but advisable) if a dog is not wearing a collar in a public place the police could seize the dog and treat it as a stray. the owner, or person in charge of the dog permitting him to be in a public place without a collar, will each be guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted and fined.
If your dog does strays, run away you need to contact your local dog warden (through the Environmental Health Department at your local council) and the local police station. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 allows for your dog to be seized and sold or destroyed if unclaimed after a seven day period.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. With these acts, you maybe fined up to £1,000 for breaking dog control orders. Local authorities can make orders for standard offences including: restricting where a person can walk a dog on or off lead, how many dogs a person can walk at one time. This makes it an offence if a person in charge of a dog fails to clean up its faeces. Designated land may include parks, roads, and other public areas within the local authority’s boundaries. Also any land which is open to the air and to which the public are permitted to have access.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act also updates the law on stray dogs by transferring the responsibility for strays from the police to the local authorities. Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 since 6th April 2006 local authorities in England and Wales have had the power to introduce new Dog Control Orders under this Act.
Micro-chipping Dogs are often re-homed or worse destroyed because the dog’s owners cannot be found and the dog cannot find a home. If a dog is micro-chipped with a identification number registered on a national database, owners can be traced quickly and returned safely. The Petlog Premium service can notify local vets and dog wardens when an owner reports where their pet lost. This can be done via telephone, SMS text message or visit Petlog website www.petlog.org.uk. Phone Petlog on 0870 606 6751. If you lose your dog, you should stay in regular contact with the local council, Petlog, vets, dog shelters and the police, and put up posters in the area where your dog was lost.
Dog wardens can take hold of stray dogs and the police, for now, still have discretionary power to seize stray dogs under the Dogs Act 1906. The finder of a stray dog must return it to its owner (if known), or take it to the local authority or police (although soon, only the local authority will receive stray dogs). It is illegal to take a found dog into your home without reporting it to the police first.
If you wish to keep the dog, maybe permitted, providing you can look after the dog, and agree to keep it for at least 28 days. Yet, if the original owner can come forward and the dog could be return to them.
Byelaws on noisy animals If your dog’s barking causes a serious nuisance to neighbours, the local authority can serve a noise abatement notice, which if unheeded can result in you paying fines and legal expenses.
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (section 3) - It is a illegal and an offence for the owner or the person in charge of a dog to allow a dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ in a public place, a place where it is not allowed to be, and some other areas. A dangerously out of control dog can be defined as a dog that has injured someone or a dog that a person has grounds for reasonable apprehension that it may do so.
When a dog in your charge dog chases, barks at or jumps up at a person or child could lead in a complaint, so make sure that your dog is under control at all times. If your dog injures a person, it could be seized by the police and your penalty may include a prison sentence and/or a ban on keeping dogs. There is also an automatic presumption that your dog will be destroyed unless you can convince the court the dog is not a danger to the public, in which case it may be subject to a control order. You may also have to pay a fine, compensation and costs.
The following breeds are banned under the Dangerous Dog Act:- American Pit Bull Terriers, Fila Brasiliero, Dogo Argentino and Japanese Tosa.
The Road Traffic Act 1988 - This makes it an offence to have a dog on a designated road without it being held on a lead. Local authorities may have similar bye-laws covering public areas. Dogs traveling in vehicles should not be an irritation or in any way distract the driver during a journey. If a dog is injured by a vehicle, the driver is required to 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.
Animals Act 1971 - You may well be liable for damage caused by your dog under this Act or under some degree of negligence. It is worthwhile having third party liability insurance to cover this.
Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 Anyone boarding animals as a business even at home needs a licensed by your local authority.
Dogs protection of livestock Act 1953 - Dogs must not bother, chase or attack livestock that means cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses and poultry on agricultural land, keep your dog on a lead around livestock. If your dog worries livestock, the farmer has the right to stop your dog even by shooting your dog in certain circumstances.
Dogs Act 1871 -It is a civil offence if a dog is dangerous to people or animals and not kept under proper control that means not on a lead nor muzzled. This law can apply wherever the incident happened. A dog can be issued with a control or a destruction order and you may have to pay costs.
For more information please visit The Kennel Club who will keep up to date with any new laws and is the place for advice on these matters.