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Dogs and the law - some basic requirements:

Collars and Tags:

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 requires dogs (with a few limited exemptions) to have a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on it, or a tag/disc when in a public place.

Is is still a legal requirement despite the introduction of compulsory micro-chipping.

Microchipping - Now a legal requirement:

Dog owners in must have their dog (if over 8 weeks of age) microchipped and the details recorded on a suitable database from 6th April 2016.

Compulsory microchipping is already in place in Northern Ireland.

The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 can be read here.

The Microchipping of Dogs (Wales) Regulations 2015 can be read here.

Scotland - Microchipping Your Dog.

The word ‘keeper’ has been introduced into this legislation and refers to anybody that’s in charge of the dog or responsible for its care.

The details recorded on the database must be kept up-to-date, for example, if the owner moves homes, the new address details etc need to be updated.

If your dog has not been microchipped, you must have this done by an authorised implanter.

Failure to comply could result in £500 fine if you were prosecuted, you would be given a 21 day notice to comply or may face a penalty fine if you failed to comply.

If your dog already has a microchip, it is up to you the keeper, to keep the recorded details which relate to the chip, up to date on the database.

Having a dog microchipped is not proof of ownership under the current legislation.

Many animal welfare charities, groups and local authorities offer free of charge micro-chipping - contact us if you need help.

UK Microchip Databases

The Animal Welfare Act 2006:

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is the main animal welfare legislation and came into force in England and Wales in 2007.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, powers exist for secondary legislation and codes of practice to be made to promote the welfare of animals.

The government is considering a number of issues including updating or bringing in new regulations or codes. Until such new provisions are made, existing laws will continue to apply.

An offence is committed if a person fails to take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of an animal for which they are responsible are met.

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.

The following five needs must be met:

* a suitable diet
* somewhere suitable to live/environment
* any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals as appropriate
* allowing animals to express normal behavior patterns
* protection from pain, suffering  and treatment of illness and injury

The AWA covers many other aspects of animal welfare and further details can be found here.

Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953:

The Act can be read in full here.

This Act creates a criminal offence which is committed by the dog’s owner and anyone else who is in charge of the dog at the time.

If a dog worries livestock on agricultural land (defined in the Act) an offence is created, worrying is defined as:

(a)attacking livestock, or

(b)chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock or, in the case of females, abortion, or loss of or diminution in their produce.

(c)being at large (that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.

Proceedings could be paired with section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871.


DDA Watch Ltd is a not-for-profit company, registered in England & Wales, registration number 7393352.

Care has been taken to ensure that our information is correct. The information and advice given by DDA Watch is for general purposes and is intended for guidance only, it does not constitute legal advice. The information and opinions expressed should not be relied on or used as a substitute for legal advice, if you require details concerning your rights, legal advice or find yourself affected by legislation it is recommended that you seek professional legal advice. 

Information given is for England and Wales only. Legislation in Scotland and N.Ireland may differ.

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