Legal beagle

All the current UK laws and regulations that apply to all those with the responsibility of a dog - owner, friend or professional dog walker. For more information please visit the Government website or The Kennel Club.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

The Animal Welfare Act was

introduced on April 6th 2007. The Act increased and introduced new penalties to tackle acts of cruelty, neglect, mutilation, tail docking, animal fighting and giving pets as prizes. In addition to this it introduced 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 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

Under this Act, you could be fined up to £1,000 for breaching Dog Control Orders. Dog Control Orders were introduced by some local authorities for offences including: failing to remove dog faeces, not keeping a dog on a lead, not putting and keeping a dog on a lead when directed to do so, permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded and taking more than a specified number of dogs on to land.

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act also updated the law on stray dogs by transferring the responsibility for strays from the police to the local authorities.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Since October 2014, Dog Control Orders have been replaced by ‘Public Spaces Protection Orders’ introduced under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. The local authorities will have similar powers to introduce orders except there will be no requirements to advertise PSPO consultations in local newspapers.

The Government has advised in guidance that local authorities consult with dog owners groups such as KC Dog prior to introducing ‘Public Spaces Protection Orders’.

Dog Identification

The Control of Dogs Order 1992

This 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. They are:

• 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 Her

Majesty’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.

Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953

Your dog must not worry (chase or attack) livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses and poultry) on agricultural land, so 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). For advice on how you can enjoy the countryside with your dog please visit:

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (section 3)

It is a criminal offence (for the owner and/or the person in charge of the dog) to allow a dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’. 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. 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.

If your dog injures a person, it may 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 persuade the court that it 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.

Compulsary microchipping of dogs

It is now a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. All dogs must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks of age and registered with a database compliant with the regulations, such a Petlog.


All breeders will need to microchip their puppies and register themselves as the first keeper of the puppy, before they are transferred to a new keeper. The new keeper will also be responsible for updating the microchip with their details.

Failure to comply with the regulations could result in a fine of up to £500 in England, Wales and Scotland.

NB: You can get your dog microchipped either at the vets or at one of the following: Pets at Home, PDSA, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust, RSPCA and many dog groomers now have the facilities to microchip also.