Dog Law - A brief guideto the bits we need to know
Do you know your responsibilities as a Dog Owner are? It can be a confusing picture and like all things under the Law can be open to interpretation of events. So here’s a guide to what you need to know and do.
The Law requires all dogs in a public place wear a collar with the name and address of their owner on the collar itself (such as printed or embroidered) or engraved on a tag attached to the collar. You are required to include the postcode you are not obliged to include a phone number – though it would seem common sense to do so. Here’s an example of a Law Abiding ID, with the addition of a telephone number.
Ms D Doglady
No 1 Crufts Lane
07777 777 777
Note: you are not required to include the dogs name. Personally I don’t. If god forbid, your dog was stolen a dog responsive to it’s name is easier to pass off as the thief s own if they attempt to sell on.
On 6th April 2016 the Law on Micro-chipping came into force, so all dogs must be chipped. Some of you might have registered with an additional service who have sent you a special tag which contains the company phone number and an ID code, these are designed to help speed up the finding process should your dog become lost. Remember though the Law states that your dog must have the info above displayed so if this is you, your dog needs to wear both tags.
In the Car
Rule 58 - The Highway Code - When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals 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.
Non compliance with the above Ruling of the Highway Code is arguably unlikely to result in prosecution on it’s own. However if your dog is loose in the car and is distracting enough for you to make an error deemed as driving without due care and attention or even dangerous driving then it could be a whole other story. Additionally and really importantly;- an unrestrained dog is so much more likely to be injured or cause you injury in the event of a collision even a little one.
Out of Control?
It is against the Law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere such as:
- in a public place
- in a private place e.g. a neighbours house or garden
- in the owners home
What is out of control? Here are some of the definitions under the Law:
Injures a person
Attacks another animal
Seems clear enough – hang on though what about these:
Makes someone worried that it might injure someone
The owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal
Be honest, do you think your dog may have made someone worried in this sense, perhaps during bouncy adolescence? Or have you been scared by another dogs’ interactions with your dog? Has your dog been attacked?
Under the letter of the Law even the perception of an attack being possible is in theory –prosecutable.
A measure much more like to affect us in our daily life are: Public Spaces Protection Orders
These are regulated by Local Authorities and restrict how and where you walk your dog. In these areas you may be required to:- keep your dog on a lead, stop your dog from going into certain places such as parts of a park, farmland etc. and limit the number of dogs you can walk at one time (this applies to professional dog walkers too) the number allowed depends on individual Authorities many do not impose a maximum number ruling. Any areas imposing Public Spaces Orders should have the particular restrictions clearly on display. Any Local Authorities planning to designate new PSPOs must publish their plans prior to inception.
What can you do to protect you and your Dog?
1. Make an honest assessment is your Dog a fizzy Fido - Likely to chase, Jump Up, Bowl over or otherwise worry people or dogs? Not fond of the Postman?
If the answer Yes then get some help from a professional
2. Be aware of any restrictions in your area and make sure you comply with them. If in doubt put your dog on a lead
I’m not going to patronise you because I know you’re a responsible lot who always pick up after your dogs. Even in those country areas, in the long grass around the fields, because you’re aware of the dangers of dog poo contamination to livestock. So I know you already pick up every single time? Cool!
Jo Boyce. BCCS.Dip.Behav.Prac