Home > Dog Safety > Dog Laws in the UK

Dog Laws in the UK

By: Sandy Bolan - Updated: 10 Jun 2018 | 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]
My dog was atacked by a smaller dog and defended himself injuring the other dog, my dog was on his lead and the other one was loose, I was bitten on the face by the other dog and required stitches. The police cane and said that my dog was under control and the other one wasn’t , can the owner of the other dog get my dog muzzled?
Mike - 10-Jun-18 @ 1:52 PM
My neighbours above in the upper floor flat have got two dogs two cats and a bed council property I don't see the dogs from one day to another I know they don't get exercised my biggest worry is the state of how the dogs are living when I do see them the little girl dog has got hole in her face which often is draining with pus but they never take them out and if they do go out there fouling on my garden not theirs I don't want to be a pain but I really don't think those dogs are being looked after properly
Sam - 4-Jun-18 @ 3:59 PM
My council has called to complain about the dogs barking they have received 2 complaints from the same household in 2 weeks. I have downloaded an app to measure the noise tomorrow whilst I am in work. Also I am hoping to do nights shifts now so someone is always home. However if it escalated to the point of my.dog being taken away can this be changed if I offer to move out with the dog? I literally could never allow my dog to be rehomed or possibly put down. He is a rescue from Cambodia and he has developed so Well that the stress would make him revert to a nervous anxious dog. Furthermore I couldn't live with the thought of him being put down just for barking. Any advice is apppreciaited. I know I am thinking of extremes and there is a protocol the council has to follow. However I need to be prepared just in case as this is my worst nightmare come true. Kind regards and thank you in advance
Sunshine 27 - 31-May-18 @ 11:14 PM
Lottie- Your Question:
It it the law that a dog has to be fenced in?

Our Response:
All dog owners have a responsibility to ensure that their dogs be kept under proper control at all times, including in their own home and garden. In other words, it comes under the banner of you have to control your dog in public, please see link here .
SaferPets - 11-May-18 @ 11:11 AM
It it the law that a dog has to be fenced in?
Lottie - 10-May-18 @ 5:12 PM
My neighbour for 23 years as been a constant pain in the butt.. repeatedly trying to report us for any reason in order to try and get us to move out of the close.. luckily now there's only her left the others have surrendered and moved on themselves... we have been accused of ringing motor bikes and cars, reported for putting up a fence, reported for a not under Fed dog we have a visit from the rspca lol, reported for having a van stuck in the middle of the road with a caravan on the back, also a van in the road stuck in the snow.. I think you get what a loving neighbour we have..she stands talking to other people in the culd-e-sac where we live stirring lies to new neighbours so then they choose not to speak to us and judge us themselves..most recently she comes back pipping her horn making me jump as we are walking our dog crossing the road then our dog needing the toilet urgently starts to pee on her grass, I informed her it's not a crime.. asked her if it was a priece of gold and if she had hovered it? I've never known people so pathetic.. why not mind ya own business and get a life.. my goodness a dog will pee when needed if or not on someone's lawn it's like they've never been desperate for the toilet themselves.. she's waited 23 years for us to move and she can wait another 23 years too they don't own the street like they think they do!!
BusyWoman - 2-May-18 @ 6:32 PM
I have a cat and dog which I adopted from anow animal shelter about 4 years ago. While the cat has steadily. Put on.weight, the dog, who came to.us as skin and bones has struggled. He has put some Weight on, eats 2 tins of meat with biscuits every day, but is very active, and so.I assumed naturally slim. His weight has never concerned me as he is very healthy. However following an anonymous tip.off the animal sanctuary turned up.onyou doorstep while I was at work and asked my 18 year old daughter if they could just check.on the dog and cat. Once inside they told her they had had an anonymous tip Off and we're seizing the dog and cat as the dog was underweight.My daughter as you can imagine was very distraught.I have rushed home from.work and repeatedly rung the sanctuary who.just keep telling me they are trying to get hold of one of the trustees who wI'll ring me back. Obviously I wanthink to.know what is happening and after the fourth time of ringing I was told, you have been told to withdraw for the trustees, Im hangino up on you.....which shenables promptry did. I have no idea what to do or if they even had any right to act in this way. If they were so concerned why couldn't they wait and just talk to me. I appreciate when you take on a pet from an animal sanctuary, you never really own it but to just come and seize both pets in this way and not tell us anything after 4 years ofor caring and bonding with them is just not right. I'm counting down the hours till the morning when hopefully i can get some answers but in.pieces right now this king of them both.
W - 16-Apr-18 @ 9:31 PM
Hi. How about leaving a dog alone for two weeks when someone comes to him at least twice a day for an hour or so . Is it safe/legal? Thanks
Anya - 23-Mar-18 @ 12:35 PM
Bea - Your Question:
A small business (next to our property) brings 3 dogs to work every day. They let the Labrador run loose about the yard as well as the single track road where we live. The Labrador constantly comes into our garden (through our hedge) & using it as a toilet & digging the lawn. We've spoken to the owner & the landlord who owns the premises - the dog is kept in for a few weeks, then the same problem happens again. Not sure what to do next. Grateful for any advice.

Our Response:
You can follow these steps if you have a dispute with your neighbour, please see link here .
SaferPets - 22-Mar-18 @ 12:16 PM
I live in a block of flats and have a dog and 3 children is it illegal for my 6 year old and 9 year old to take the dog on to the grass to have a wee he is always on the lead and go no further than the grass outside
Clyde - 21-Mar-18 @ 10:13 PM
A small business (next to our property) brings 3 dogs to work every day.They let the Labrador run loose about the yard as well as the single track road where we live.The Labrador constantly comes into our garden (through our hedge) & using it as a toilet & digging the lawn.We've spoken to the owner & the landlord who owns the premises - the dog is kept in for a few weeks, then the same problem happens again.Not sure what to do next. Grateful for any advice .
Bea - 21-Mar-18 @ 1:12 PM
Our neighbours, who live in a 2 bed terrace have 9 dogs. They have quickly increased from 1 to 9. two of these dogs are very large, and 7 are french bulldogs(1puppy). I am trying to find out the legality of owning so many dogs in a small property. They can be noisy and are starting to disturb us. The house is also filthy and they are locked in for sometimes 6 - 7 hrs a day.
mikey1 - 21-Mar-18 @ 7:12 AM
Redyakyak - Your Question:
Our neighbor uses our fence which is on our property to keep her dogs on her property. Surely as a dog owner she has to have her own fence on her side to keep her dogs in?

Our Response:
It wouldn't make sense for your neighbour to get another parallel fence, unless damage is being done to yours. If you have a dispute, there are several ways in which you can attempt to resolve any issues you have over boundaries; amicable discussion, mediation, adjudication and courts.
SaferPets - 16-Mar-18 @ 12:31 PM
Our neighbor uses our fence which is on our property to keep her dogs on her property. Surely as a dog owner she has to have her own fence on her side to keep her dogs in?
Redyakyak - 15-Mar-18 @ 6:48 PM
I have justbeen quiteviolentlyverballyabused by aman with 7 dogsloose.He us extremelyarrogantnotbothering to put any ona lead.My two were on leads.It enragesme thatthis thing is allowed happen n I have spoken to the policebut theycan't do anything butlog it. Some thing should be done
Annoyed - 23-Feb-18 @ 2:44 PM
@Suzie - You don't say why the police are holding your dog. If the police are investigating an incident, they can hold your dog until they make a decision regarding what should happen :(
JaneH - 19-Feb-18 @ 3:43 PM
How do I go about getting her back I'm heartbroken
Suzie - 16-Feb-18 @ 7:14 PM
I can'ttakemy dog in thecumnaty centregroundsbutcanwaitin thebicyclespeed andthe singno dogsallowedis a jokeyoucan'tseeit from thegate
Chf - 30-Jan-18 @ 7:16 PM
I can'ttakemy dogin to thecumnaty centregroundbut I can takehim in to thebicycleshedthat is in thesamegroundand thesingle is to far awayto seeit havetheygot therightto say that
Chf - 30-Jan-18 @ 7:13 PM
I was living at home with my mother. I have two shih tzus one 7 and one 18 months. I rehomed the youngest one from a friend but my mums partner paid the £150 for him which I said I was willing to pay myself.I have paid for all his grooming, I walk him, he comes and stays in my boyfriends with me every night and also his microchip is registered to me. The problem now is I have had a fall out with my mum and she has asked me to leave which I have. Now living with my boyfriend. She hasn’t got a problem looking after the older dog but said she couldn’t cope with the two of them and whilst I was at work last Monday she gave him to my brother to look after without even consulting me and he won’t give me him back.
Toria43 - 22-Jan-18 @ 8:37 PM
Hi, I am just looking for a bit of advice with regards to how long the police can keep my dog.He is a maltipoo and was accused of biting my neighbour.No but was actually seen but the police took him anyway, they have had him for nearly 5 weeks and they keep messing me about saying they have sent the relevant paperwork to the dog unit to get him released back to me then saying they haven’t done it and they never said they were sending it when I have proof they did. I am getting worried my dog will have rebonding issues with us when he comes home.I have been told that in these situations it has to be completed in 6 weeks is this true.Thank you for any info.
Kit - 10-Jan-18 @ 9:12 AM
@D - I feel the same. My rescue dog is a bit frisky and not very friendly with other dogs, so when other dogs come bouding up to him to play, he thinks he is being attacked so goes for the other dog. Then the person whose dog is off the lead says 'he just wants to be friendly' and then they look at me as though it's my dog's fault. 'But my dog doesn't want to be friendly and that's why it's on the LEAD,' I feel like saying, but I usually just give a cursory smile. The thing is it winds my dog up so much that it takes ages for him to calm down. I try to walk him at times and in places where there are no other dogs, but as always happens, there is always someone with a dog or dogs off the leads. So frustrating!
BecsB - 22-Dec-17 @ 2:34 PM
I walk my small elderly dog over local park she has difficulty walking and I am sick of dogs off leads bothering me. Some dog owners who cannot control their dogs expect me not to mind and the usual HE JUST WANTS TO BE FRIENDLY annoys me big time. Please note I have the right to choose my own friends and I suggest you spend time training your dog to return when called. Obviously not all dogs or owners but too many not controlled.
D - 24-Nov-17 @ 4:58 PM
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
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
  • Mike
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    My dog was atacked by a smaller dog and defended himself injuring the other dog, my dog was on his lead and the other one was loose, I was…
    10 June 2018
  • Sam
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    My neighbours above in the upper floor flat have got two dogs two cats and a bed council property I don't see the dogs from one day to another…
    4 June 2018
  • Sunshine 27
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    My council has called to complain about the dogs barking they have received 2 complaints from the same household in 2 weeks. I have downloaded…
    31 May 2018
  • SaferPets
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Lottie - Your Question:It it the law that a dog has to be fenced in?Our Response:All dog owners
    11 May 2018
  • Lottie
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    It it the law that a dog has to be fenced in?
    10 May 2018
  • BusyWoman
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    My neighbour for 23 years as been a constant pain in the butt.. repeatedly trying to report us for any reason in order to try and get us to…
    2 May 2018
  • Kirk
    Re: Demonstrating that Dogs Are Not Dangerous If Handled Correctly
    Hi my puppy nipped a 12year old who visited our home. They were ovee excited and…
    2 May 2018
  • Ruth
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    @Chrissy, did you solved the problem? Im in the sme situation right now and Im so stressed
    20 April 2018
  • prof. DF
    Re: Keeping Your Rabbit Safe
    was up people i love rabbit and take care of them
    3 April 2018
  • Misty
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    @Potli - You haven't said whether the cat is looking after its own wound or how serious the wound is. Much depends on what the vet…
    29 March 2018