Your legal responsibilies as a dog owner
As a dog owner, do you know all the laws of the land that you must comply with to protect yourself as well as your dog?
Let's start with a few questions to test your knowledge.
Do you know that you can be fined up to £20,000 or sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control? That you may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed?
Do you know that if you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years or fined (or both)?
Do you know that if you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with 'malicious wounding'?
Do you know that 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)?
Do you know that if you allow your dog to injure a guide dog you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years or fined (or both)?
Some knowlege of dog law is essential if you want to keep your best pal safe. Here is a beginners guide to the most essential laws you need to comply with.
Dog collars - the law
All dogs must have a collar with a tag.
Do not put your dog’s name on your tag.
The tag must carry your name and must have your address on it. It is not enough to have a door number and a postcode.
Nor is it enough to have a phone number only.
Did you know that you can be fined if you do not have this information on a dog tag? Here are some stats that might surprise you: 100,000 dogs are lost or stolen each year. 6000, dogs are euthanased each year because their owners cannot be located.
Microchipping - new legislation
By April 2016 as dog owners in England and Wales we will need to ensure that our dogs are microchipped and registered on one of the authorised commercial databases available. Breeders will have to register the details of any new owner before they sell or give the dog away. However, it will be up to us as owners to keep our contact details up to date on the appropriate microchip database. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to £500.
Controlling your dog
As I mentioned above, it is a criminal 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 permitted to be, and some other areas.However, 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. This last line is the key here! Something as simple as your dog chasing, barking at or jumping up at a person or child could lead to a complaint, so ensure that your dog is under control at all times.
One of the best ways of ensuring that you minimise the risks to you and your dog, is to ensure that your pet is properly trained and that you too know how to respond should a difficult situation arise.
I would be pleased to help you to train your pet, you can find out more about my dog training and dogcare services here
You can find more useful information on your legal responsibilites as a dog owner on the gov.uk website here
How well do you understand your responsibilites as a dog owner?