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DOGS AND THE LAW

 

DOGS AND THE LAW”

We are living in a very anti-dog society and it is important that all Dog owners are aware of current legislation and the areas of risk we can find ourselves in. Laws are made and enforced to protect people and pets alike. It is the duty of responsible pet owners to ensure they meet the requirements of the law. Four out of five owners already help protect people, animals and the environment. Your HELP is needed to make things better. The laws surrounding dogs in most parts are vague and open to interpretation so I have enclosed a list of do’s and don’ts to help keep you and your pet within the confines of the Law. For further information and legal assistance if needed contact the Justice for Dogs website or Trevor Cooper @ http://www.doglaw.co.uk/

General

DO  make sure dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag on it stating your name and address. Telephone numbers are not required however it does speed up the return of your dog. If your dog does not wear a collar and tag he can be seized and treated as a stray. You WILL be committing an offence. The Law does NOT state your dog has to be micro chipped, however in Crewe and Nantwich if the Dog Warden finds your dog and cannot identify its’ owners it may be sent to Stoke to be put down. Dogs are not always referred to the rescue centres. It is therefore wise to have your pet chipped.

DO  make sure your dog is vaccinated. You will be liable if your dog passes on a disease you knew he had.

DO  stop and report any accidents involving dogs. It is an offence not to and it is likely you will be prosecuted. Likewise the law states that owners have a duty to take reasonable care to see that injury or damage is not caused by their animals straying onto the road.       (Animals act of 1971) Animal Welfare Act 2006 (as per @ http://www.doglaw.co.uk/) Cruelty.

Unnecessary suffering is defined as including when suffering could have reasonably been avoided or reduced, and whether the conduct was that of a reasonably competent and humane person. You can commit an offence if you cause unnecessary suffering by an act (or failure to act) or if you permit someone else to.

Duty of Care (The RSPCA’s 5 Freedoms)

You commit an offence if you don’t take ‘such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal’ for which you are responsible’ are met to the extent required by good practice. You are responsible for an animal if you are the owner, in charge of it, a parent or guardian of someone under 16 who is responsible for it. You may be responsible on a temporary basis (eg looking after a friend’s animal) An animals needs include: Suitable environment

  • Suitable diet
  • Need to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • To be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • Protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Byelaws. (Dog Control Orders)

Local councils may apply their own byelaws with which dog owners MUST comply.  Notices of areas restricting dogs are usually displayed as are those concerning fouling of pavements and other public places.

DO   be aware of Dog control orders in your area. Also some roads in your area may stipulate that you must have your dog on the lead whilst walking along them.   

DO  clean up after your dog. Designated areas where this is an offence  are signposted. Also make sure you place it in the right bin! Even if you are not in a designated area still clean up. Dogs are public enemy number 1 at the moment so lets’ change this perception.

Exemptions include those with severe Disabilities and Guide Dogs. Assistance Dogs are NOT exempt.

DO make sure your dog is under control at all times. If he causes damage or an accident you are liable.

DO follow the correct procedures for stray dogs. If you cannot locate the owner hand the dog to your local dog warden.  YOU MUST NOT KEEP IT WITHOUT NOTIFYING THE CORRECT  AUTHORITIES.  The responsibility for this is with your local council (NOT the police). In Crewe and Nantwich the Dog warden is your first contact. Out of hours please call “The “Hollies” boarding kennels at Hough.

WHERE BYELAWS AND OTHER LAWS ARE NOT COMPLIED WITH YOUR COUNCIL HAS THE RIGHT TO TAKE OFFENDERS BEFORE A MAGISTRATES COURT. PENALTIES CAN BE SEVERE AND HEAVY FINES CAN BE IMPOSED.

The Country Code.

Legal Classification on Livestock-(Protection of Livestock Act 1953)

All       cows,       SHEEP        (Severe       penalities       for         harassing

sheep)goats,swine,horses,asses,mules Poulty-domestic fowls, turkeys, geese or ducks.

DO  train your dog not to bother livestock. The farmer has a right to shoot and kill if he deems it necessary. Always keep to footpaths and bridleways and shut gates. Do not let your dog damage crops. Keep on a lead around farm stock and look for signs that state there are dog bans on the land.

Dogs at large around sheep even if not chasing them is an offence. Dogs on flexileads are questionable as they are considered NOT under close control.

 DO  train your dog not to chase wildlife. Under the hunting laws this is an offence. Remember that Badgers are protected and offences against them can result in your dog being destroyed by court order.

DO   be careful on Forestry commission land. Your dog is not permitted to disturb wildlife or their homes. Likewise dogs are not allowed in reservoirs.

DO NOT  allow your dog to develop barking problems at home or while out. Under Nuisance regulations you could be prosecuted.

DO NOT  leave you dog unsupervised in public places. Under nuisance regulations a person who deems your dog to be a nuisance can prosecute you and demand your dog is destroyed. (you only have to meet one person who hates dogs and thinks a friendly approach is a potential attack). The Law is not on the dogs’ side and you will have little choice. Never leave your dog  alone outside a shop. Likewise always put your dog on the lead if you see another dog on the lead especially if there are children or prams involved to avoid a potential incident. Do not put your dog in a situation where he will be at risk.

DO NOT allow a dog with an aggression problem to be at large in public. Take the necessary precautions and seek professional help.

Take extra care when allowing children to walk dogs. They will be unlikely to know how to handle difficult situations and often their reactions can reinforce problem behaviours particularly with young dogs and puppies.