Registration & Microchipping
Dogs on Leads
“Owners can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of up to £100 for not complying with regulations.”
Dogs and Livestock
Understandably there are laws to protect livestock from dogs. The actual term referred to is that dogs are not allowed to ‘worry’ livestock. Even if your dog isn’t aggressive or does not bite livestock, just the simple act of chasing or barking at them can cause pregnant animals to abort their young through stress. Please remember to be considerate of this when walking your dogs in areas that may contain livestock.
Dogs in Food Establishments
Relevant Law: Food Hygiene Regulations 2013, under EU Regulation (EC) 852/2004, Annex II
Dogs on Roads
If however, your dog causes a road incident that causes injury, illness or death you could be liable to a claim from the injured party if you are proven liable. Third-party liability insurance can be taken out to protect against any costs or compensation you may need to pay if your dog does cause an accident.
The Highway Code requires dogs to be ‘suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly’ (rule 57).
If you were in a crash, an unsecured dog will be thrown forward with significant force. This could result in your pet’s death, and depending on the size of your dog, could also injure or kill the driver or passengers. It is worth mentioning also that dependant on your vehicle insurance policy many insurers will not honour a claim if it is proven that you were travelling with an unsecured dog in the vehicle.
Disobeying the Highway Code doesn’t carry a direct penalty however drivers could be pulled over by police and fined up to £1,000 for driving without proper control if their pet distracts them. That could be stepped up to failing to drive with due care and attention (careless driving) which carries a maximum fine of £5,000 and nine penalty points if the case goes to court.
Dogs under control in public spaces
Law: Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, section 3
Relevant Law: Under the Docking of Working Dogs Tails (England) Regulations 2007, Docking of Working Dogs Tails (Wales) Regulations 2007
We all know that dogs bark and it is the most natural things in the World as it’s their principal way of communicating but sometimes barking excessively can cause issues, particularly when it affects neighbours and others around you.
If the local authority receives a complaint about excessive barking their environmental health department can formally ask you to stop your dog from continuing the behaviour, and if you don’t, they can take your dog away from you. Persistent barking is most commonly a sign of distress so to try and understand more about potential causes we recommend you take a look at our article on barking and if in doubt seek help from a professional.
Laws relating to Dog Walkers
If you use a dog walker it’s important to understand what rules and regulation they should be adhering to so you can be sure you are picking the right one for your dog. First and foremost they should also be able to exhibit some form of professional qualification, skill or experience and they must be insured. The type of insurance they need depends on what level of service they are providing e.g. if they are also expected to be a key holder. A lot of walkers also decide to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check to confirm their integrity. Ideally, a good dog walker will also be qualified in pet first aid and have undergone some form of training to enable them to cope with situations involving dog aggression, attacks or injury. Good practice suggests they should offer a consultation to gain information about your dog before they can be walked safely, and they should also ask you to sign a contract of care and relevant veterinary release forms so that your dog can be treated by a vet in case of emergency.
Laws relating to Boarding and Kennels
Anyone boarding animals (even at home) needs to be licensed by their local authority. Before granting a licence an officer or vet appointed by the local authority will inspect the premises to ensure that they comply with the legal requirements of the act. As you would expect they must be covered by adequate and suitable public liability insurance and, where necessary, adequate and suitable employer’s liability insurance.
When a boarder takes on a new dog you would expect that they would ask for proof that your dog is up to date with current vaccinations. The course of vaccination must be completed at least 4 weeks before the first date of boarding or in accordance with veterinary and or manufacturers instructions. Whilst boarding, dogs must live in the home as family pets. There must be no external construction of buildings, cages or runs. No dog registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 must be accepted for home boarding.