Home > Dog Safety > Dog Laws in the UK

Dog Laws in the UK

By: Sandy Bolan - Updated: 11 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Dangerous Dogs Control Obedience

Dog ownership is a privilege that must be taken seriously. All dog owners must raise and care for their dogs in a specific manner - one that does not harm the dog in any way. Dog owners must also follow specific dog legislation.

Having dog-specific laws in place may seem unreasonable, however, they were created, and are implemented, for society's safety, as well as that of the dog.

Every dog, no matter its size or breed, must be trained in basic obedience. This will go a long way in keeping your dog out of harm's way, and hopefully you and your dog will never have an encounter with local authorities.

To help owners out, the Kennel Club dog owners group has created two programs, the first being the Safe and Sound Scheme, which was created "to promote the safe interaction between children and dogs, and teaches children how to behave around dogs and to stay safe," according to the Kennel Club. "It can never be taken for granted that any dog will be 100 per cent safe with everyone all of the time."

The second program is the Good Citizen Dog Scheme, which covers both theoretical and practical dog training skills.

Under Control

As of 1992, the Control of Dogs Order requires any dog in a public place to wear a collar and ID tag with the name and address of the owner on it. Failure to comply can lead to a £5,000 fine.

However, every rule, including this one, has its exceptions. Dogs exempt from wearing a collar and ID tag in public include: dogs on official duty for the armed forces, HM Customs and Excise or police; sport dogs and packs of hounds; dogs used for capturing or destroying vermin; dogs used for driving/tending cattle or sheep; guide dogs for the blind; and dogs used for emergency rescue work.

Poop and Scoop

Did you know that until 2003 in Scotland, it was illegal to let your dog go potty in specified public places, regardless of whether or not the dirty deed was immediately removed or not.

The new act now makes public fouling an offence only when it is not immediately cleaned up. The remainder of UK dog owners who fail to scoop their dog's poop can be slapped with a £1,000 fine under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

Another way in which local authorities are trying to keep neighbourhoods beautiful is by handing out dog control orders. "This means that councils will be able to make an order for a standard offence to apply to land within their area," reports the Kennel Club.

Offences likely covered included: not putting or keeping a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer; permitting a dog to go onto unauthorised land; and taking more than the specified number of dogs onto land.

When it comes to trespassing, the Animals Act 1997 empowers farmers to shoot, without warning, dogs the farmer feels is a threat to his livestock. The dog's owner could face criminal prosecution for the same offence.

Dangerous Dogs

As of 1991, all breeds or types of Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino or Filo Braziliero must be registered, neutered, microchipped, tattooed and insured. "It is an offence to breed, sell, exchange or give away a dog of these breeds and they must have been registered by the end of November 1991. It is not possible to register them now," according to Birmingham Public Health.

If you illegally own one of these dogs, you can be hit with a maximum fine of £5,000 and/or six month's imprisonment.

Breeding

Dog breeders who breed five or more litters a year must be licensed under the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999. Even if you breed fewer than five litters a year, but breed for business purposes, you too must be licensed.

The Act also states that licensed breeders: cannot mate a bitch under 12 months old; cannot whelp more than six litters from a bitch; cannot whelp two litters within a 12-month period from the same bitch; they must keep accurate records and puppies cannot be sold until they are eight weeks old. However, they are able to sell puppies, less than eight weeks of age, to a licensed pet shop or Scottish rearing establishment.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Cami - Your Question:
I am rent a room and I am livibg with my landlady she got a dog.but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to take some clothes or something. And she left her dog with me.but I am working 16 15 hours per day.i dont have time to walk him or sometimes to let him out in the garden.so the dog is poo and wi in the kitchen everytime.and he dont have food or fresh water very often.she doesnt care about him.and he is getting soo slim.what can I do? Where shall I call about this problem ? Thank you

Our Response:
First you need to feed the dog and give it fresh water. Then you then need to call animal rescue or a dog's trust in your area or the RSPCA, please see link here and report that the dog is being neglected. The animal needs to be looked after and if your landlady cannot, you may have to step in and rescue the dog and find someone that can. You may also wish to contact your landlady if you can to inform her that she is neglecting the dog and you have had to report this to the authorities.
SaferPets - 13-Nov-17 @ 12:50 PM
I am rent a room and i am livibg withmy landladyshe got a dog ..but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to take some clothes or something. And she left her dog with me..but i am working 16 15 hours per day .i dont have time to walk him or sometimes to let him out in the garden ...so the dog is poo and wi in the kitchen everytime .and he dont have food or fresh water very often ..she doesnt care about him.and he is getting soo slim .what can i do? Where shall i call about this problem ? Thank you
Cami - 11-Nov-17 @ 12:38 PM
Harleydog.. contact the police and don't take no for an answer...The other person did not have control of their dog and that is against the law.... Good luck ....
saxonheidi - 5-Nov-17 @ 10:29 PM
Morning my dog was attacked yesterday by a off leash dog, mine was on lead. Resulting in my dog needing stitches , were do I stand with the new dog law , can I report this and who to
Harleydog - 1-Nov-17 @ 8:36 AM
Used a boarding kennel for some years. Brilliant....usually! Made a booking and stated collection date. Went to collect yesterday after paying bill online and told closed cannot pick up. Sent texts and tried to ring....but no reply, I was fuming. Told after 10pm by text can pick up 930am today and never been open Sunday's in 29 years. Website states open 365 days a year! It looks as if I am in for a battle today too! She also didn't ask for me to sign paperwork on dropping off just vac certs. Please please can you advise as extremely worried.
Hels - 28-Aug-17 @ 6:54 AM
@Boysee -if you have a ban on keeping dogs there must be a reason. So, why would you want to keep more?
ErinJ - 21-Aug-17 @ 11:16 AM
If you receive a ban on keeping dogs in Scotland does it also apply to keeping dogs in England
Boysee - 19-Aug-17 @ 1:00 PM
hi im looking for a solicitor who can help us, as we believe that our dog was treated badly at the vets and had to be pts last week...
wendycats - 9-Aug-17 @ 10:42 PM
@no nickname - awful isn't it. I hate stories like this. Just keep pestering the RSPCA, especially if you think they are being neglected :(
Jojo - 1-Aug-17 @ 11:13 AM
Can you tell me if there's a law to protect dogs being locked in small huts/cages outdoors for too long? There's 2 medium size dogs locked in a very small hut overnight...often until mid afternoon the following day.I personally think it's too long but need to know the law before I take further action. I called the RSPCA who told me they couldn't come out as dogs are sheltered & but big enough for them to stand up in!!
no nickname - 31-Jul-17 @ 8:48 AM
Hi my dog has just had a litter of puppies. Pure accident it has happened and I wanted to know what the law is about microchipping them? We don't want to keep them and are selling them to good homes. Just wanted to know if we need to microchip them or not?
Jadog - 29-Jul-17 @ 4:25 PM
Alman - Your Question:
HelloA pack of hounds are walked through my village daily, leaving many deposits behind, one of which has been especially loose recently. Should the pack owner clean up behind him and if not, why on earth not?

Our Response:
If you are resident in the UK, a person can be given an on-the-spot fine if they don’t clean up after their dog. The amount varies from council to council. It’s often £50 and can be as much as £80. You can report a dog fouling problem via the gov.uk link here.
SaferPets - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:41 PM
Hello A pack of hounds are walked through my village daily, leaving many deposits behind, one of which has been especially loose recently. Should the pack owner clean up behind him and if not, why on earth not?
Alman - 24-Jul-17 @ 7:55 PM
We need help! We took possession of Roxy an 8 week old Rottweiler at the beginning of December 2016 Due to the fact that my son-in-law did not want it at his house and was going to leave it at his yard. Before he gave Roxy to us he let one of his employees look after her. We found out that he had been convicted of letting his dog bite somebody. This resulted in the dog being destroyed. Since that time Roxy has been with us. She is loved and is loving. Roxy is now 9 months old. Today we received a text from my son-in-law's brother who says that he bought the dog & had it chipped. He wants the dog returned by this weekend. During these past months, his name has never been brought up regarding ownership. We desperately need advice asap. We have fed & given her all our love and are now devastated.
Steve & Stella - 19-Jul-17 @ 9:36 PM
My friend has a Staffordshire Bull terrier which is the loveliest dog ever, she never barks and she's very gentle. People make too many assumptions about certain breeds. I live next-door to a fluffy popular breed which yaps continuously non stop (right at this moment it has been barking for 7hours 50minutes non stop) it's a piercing bark which makes me feel like screaming and I have a few times. The family at the back own a malamute which starts barking at about 8:15 am and doesn't stop until 6am the next morning, all day and all night for the past four years. It's kept in a cage outside permanently. I have called the rspca. It was a waste of time. The council have done nothing at all. The issue with dogs are their owners. Responsible owners have well behaved dogs that are a pleasure to be around regardless of their breed. It breaks my heart to see dogs destroyed due to their face measurements under the dangerous dogs act. A dog can rip your face off regardless of its breed and these little dogs that rule the house, are more dangerous, dangerous physically and mentally. Not only are they vicious, it's ignored because they are cute, there are not 'cute' at all. Irresponsible owners are selfish people who couldn't give a damn about their dogs or other people. The law should be the selfish dog owner act.
Stayontheground - 17-Jun-17 @ 5:57 PM
@SallyB - there is nothing you can really do. People will have prejudices - just ignore these people. Those who are educated know the likes of Rotties and Staffies are on the whole lovely dogs and it's their owners who can be the problem. That's why many people walk their dogs late at night, so they don't have to face people's judgemental 'opinions'.
Jase - 16-Jun-17 @ 1:56 PM
Whilst playing ball with my Rottweiler (who is 18months) my dog went to say hello to another dog, with ball in mouth and tail wagging, (i completely appreciate people's thoughts on rotties, that's why I have ensured that he is trained well and is dog and people friendly) this man with the other dog who my dog was going to say hello to started waving his walking stick in the air and threatening to hit my dog saying he was going to hit my dog if he attackes his dog. My dog has never been aggressive to another dog. My dog then loses interest in trying to say hello and wanders off in the other direction. Is there anything I can do, if in future he does hit my dog? I threatened him with calling the police if he hit my dog but I'm now considering taking my phone out with me so I can film any incidents, which I hope doesn't happen! Is there anything I should do to protect me and my dog? It's all well people saying that he should be on a lead, but we were on a park! Where can I let my dog my dog explore, have fun and get exercise????? I am fed up with the mentality of this day and age!!
SallyB - 2-Jun-17 @ 11:24 AM
my ex dumped he's dogs with me over 18 months ago and has not paid towards there upkeep how long before they are legally mine?
Guest - 12-May-17 @ 5:50 PM
Is there any rules about how many dogs can be transported in a car at one time. Our neighbours have a small daycare business and transport other people's dogs in their small family estate car. We often count 10+ dogs ( inc Several large breeds) The poor animals are so squashed - we are concerned for their safety and welfare.
Julie - 22-Apr-17 @ 2:13 PM
Holly - Your Question:
I live in a flat two ground floor two upper floor,We share a front door and garden space, my neighbourHas a rockwiller large dog, she leaves her door openSo the dog roams free, I have asked her to put the dog on a Lead, she has refused, told me her dog is friendly, it doesn'tSound friendly when I have friends or trade people round.I'm scared that the dog may attack someone. Should the dogBe on a lead.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk site here which will give you further information.
SaferPets - 4-Apr-17 @ 12:08 PM
I live in a flat two ground floor two upper floor, We share a front door and garden space, my neighbour Has a rockwiller large dog, she leaves her door open So the dog roams free, i have asked her to put the dog on a Lead, she has refused, told me her dog is friendly, it doesn't Sound friendly when i have friends or trade people round. I'm scared that the dog may attack someone. Should the dog Be on a lead.
Holly - 3-Apr-17 @ 9:55 PM
Can someone please advise me on this issue, is it legal ( in Scotland ) to leave your dog tied up outside a school ( for 5min ) not on the schools railing but a pavement railing? Thank you in advance if you can help advise
Jen - 29-Mar-17 @ 5:32 PM
Further to the advice on this page regarding dog law "However, there has been a main change in the law which extends it to keeping your dog under control on private property, meaning in a person's home, plus front and back garden" Our 7 month old kitten was savaged and killed in seconds by 2 working (farm) dogs(Lurchers) being kept on a residential estate, 100yds from an infant school, on Saturday. The owner admitted he wasn't able to get out in time to save his life, and the damage sustained to our boy in just a few seconds was horrific(I would post a picture but see no way of doing so) Surely dogs trained to hunt small prey, who are capable of doing this can't be deemed "under control" as the change in the law requires?I reported the incident to the police and was told I would be contacted by an investigating officer, I haven't as yet, but I understand I'm unlikely to get very far going down that avenue.I should add that I do like dogs and have met too many lovely ones to condemn all of them but I've been around cats and dogs all my life and have seen injuries resulting from cats getting into scrapes with domestic dogs and it just doesn't compare to what dogs trained to hunt small prey are capable of, surely working dogs of this type are a ticking time bomb on a residential estate, so close to a school with small children?Many thanks for your help, Howie
Howie - 21-Mar-17 @ 9:29 AM
Further to the advice on this page regarding dog law "However, there has been a main change in the law which extends it to keeping your dog under control on private property, meaning in a person's home, plus front and back garden" Our 7 month old kitten was savaged and killed in seconds by 2 working (farm) dogs(Lurchers) being kept on a residential estate, 100yds from an infant school, on Saturday. The owner admitted he wasn't able to get out in time to save his life, and the damage sustained to our boy in just a few seconds was horrific(I would post a picture but see no way of doing so) Surely dogs trained to hunt small prey, who are capable of doing this can't be deemed "under control" as the change in the law requires?I reported the incident to the police and was told I would be contacted by an investigating officer, I haven't as yet, but I understand I'm unlikely to get very far going down that avenue.I should add that I do like dogs and have met too many lovely ones to condemn all of them but I've been around cats and dogs all my life and have seen injuries resulting from cats getting into scrapes with domestic dogs and it just doesn't compare to what dogs trained to hunt small prey are capable of, surely working dogs of this type are a ticking time bomb on a residential estate, so close to a school with small children?Many thanks for your help, Howie
Howie - 21-Mar-17 @ 8:49 AM
To bunny. Sorry to hear your situation, you sound like you are suffering, with the dilema of juggling to many balls!I dont know if you are able to hold your ex legally responsible for the dog you say is legally registered to him. If it were me out of curiosity i would ask my vet as first point of call. They should be able to answer that i suspect. You sound like you are doing a great job and hats of to you for that. If i was you i would forget the ex and love what you have got coz no man can match a dog or cat or any animal no matter what or how much it costs! So my advise is blog the...... And love what you got.
Buddy - 20-Mar-17 @ 12:36 AM
I recently purchased a dog of a young lady who said the bog could be a bit nippy when excited,that was a lie,we've had the dog 2 weeks and in that time has bitten me and my partner several times which broke the skin and bled every time. 7 times this has happened.we have had the dog castrated as this was advised by the vet.we are now having to put him to sleep because he's just too aggressive with repeated attacks for no reason. So my question is, is there any law preventing owners from selling on an aggressive/ vicious dog and would we have a case to get the previous owner to pay for the castration and the initial money we paid for the dog.
Biting buddy - 17-Mar-17 @ 1:46 PM
@Williams - if you want to make sure your dog does not find themselves in these situations - then your only alternative is to keep your dogs on a lead. Once they are off the lead it's a free-for-all. I can't let my dog off the lead because he will chase other dogs as is the nature of the dog. It's all down to the responsibility of the owners. I don't think you can sue though. It's just down to one of those things!
Petal - 6-Mar-17 @ 12:56 PM
I was walking my two miniature dachshunds (both on leads, microchipped and both have I.D tags). We came off the road and into the field so I let them off their leads as I usually do. They are both trained and harmless so this has never been a problem. The field is huge and we made our way down to the bottom (about 400 metres) when a woman appeared with two dogs. I had only just noticed them as before this we were the only ones in the field up until this point. They were large dogs similar to the size of a greyhound though I am not sure what breed they were. My dogs are a little intimidated by other dogs as they are only small so when the dog caught sight of one and started bounding towards her with excitement she backed away. He was a friendly dog and I know his intentions were not to hurt her but she didn't know this and she ran away from him, he chases her all the way down the field. His owner was yelling but he was chasing her down and she was terrified, he chased her out of the field and down the road about 100 metres. As I ran to the end of the field the dog came back in bouncing towards its owner with excitement and I was running down the road shouting my dogs name at the top of my lungs with the other running alongside me (I had put her back on a lead before we got to the road). Luckily someone had pulled over and picked her up and so I retrieved her safely but I was wondering what could have happened in the worst scenario if she had been hit by a car and badly injured or even killed? Was the other dogs owner at fault as he would have chased her into the road causing her to be hit? Or would it not be anyone's fault since all dogs were off the lead and he didn't have aggressive intentions?
Williams - 5-Mar-17 @ 6:08 PM
I live on the outskirts of a town, with a large enclosed garden with 6 foot gates and a beware of the dog sign on it. When I go out my dogs have the run of the garden. I had a complaint from a passer by walking his dogs made to the council. He stated my dogs were barking and being aggressive towards him and his dogs, I've now been told to lock them in the back garden, is there a law that I have to do this? My dogs have shelter food and water when left, and the run of just under half an acre of garden, I feel this is their space, why should I lock them away? Please help? I've read so much but there's nothing that says I can't leave my dogs in my garden. They bark at passers by even when I'm home?? It's not constant or all day
Genki - 2-Feb-17 @ 6:54 PM
When I walk my dog the is one house that has 2 dobermans, while the owners work in the shop next door the both dogs are left in the front garden with a surrounding wall of just 3 ft. There are children walking past regularly and many other people with their dogs. I walked past with my dog one morning and the barking was aggressive and if they wanted they could quite easily clear the wall to attack. Is there a law about walls and fences being a certain hight as well as myself a lot of other people won't walk past if the dogs are out? Please help.
Boo boo - 19-Jan-17 @ 7:25 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • SaferPets
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Cami - Your Question:I am rent a room and I am livibg with my landlady she got a dog.but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to…
    13 November 2017
  • Cami
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I am rent a room and i am livibg with my landlady she got a dog ..but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to take some clothes…
    11 November 2017
  • saxonheidi
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Harleydog.. contact the police and don't take no for an answer...The other person did not have control of their dog and that is against the…
    5 November 2017
  • Harleydog
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Morning my dog was attacked yesterday by a off leash dog, mine was on lead. Resulting in my dog needing stitches , were do I stand with the new…
    1 November 2017
  • Junet55
    Re: Introducing a Puppy to Other Dogs
    Hi I'm getting a new puppy, can she go into my boyfriend's house (he has an unvaccinated dog) if I don't allow physical…
    29 September 2017
  • Gill.
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    @Karen - dog rescue centres do re-home dogs with the elderly and a dog that needed minimum exercise would be required, or…
    26 September 2017
  • Karen
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    My mother in law is 86 and has just had to have her alsatian put to sleep after being her companion for 15 years she is…
    25 September 2017
  • Vetnurse90
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    @Dionne - You can clean the wound with a non-stinging antiseptic diluted in warm water. Only if you notice changes…
    15 September 2017
  • Dionne
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    Hi, my collie was on her walk and ran over some barbwire witch seems to have cut her around her nipple it was only…
    12 September 2017
  • MinesaPug
    Re: Treating Poisoning
    @Kbentley - I hope so. It would depend on how many one ate. At least they are in good hands and the vets are the right people to deal with this…
    8 September 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SaferPets website. Please read our Disclaimer.