Dog Legislation

I mentioned some time ago I would talk about dog related legislation, I have identified some of the keys areas you may find of interest 😊 If you want to read the respective legislation in full, you can search for it here 

The below information is sourced from, Blue Cross, and Dogs Trust websites.

Control of Dogs Order 1992

This law mandates that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of their owner displayed.

Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015, Microchipping of Dogs (Wales) Regulations 2015

All dogs must be microchipped, and the owner’s detail must be registered on one of the authorised databases. This information has to be kept up to date.

Animal Welfare Act 2006, section 4

Allowing a dog to suffer unnecessarily could result in prison for six months, a £20,000 fine, and a ban on keeping animals.

Animal Welfare Act 2006, section 9

All domestic animals have the legal right to:

  • live in a suitable environment
  • eat a suitable diet
  • exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • be housed with, or apart from, other animals
  • be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

These are referred to as the ‘Five Freedoms’.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, section 3

Dogs must not be allowed to be ‘dangerously out of control’, either injuring someone or making someone FEAR they may be injured. This applies to any breed or type of dog.

Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:

  • it attacks someone’s animal
  • the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 amends the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Allowing your dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ on private property, or in public. Owners can be prosecuted if their dog attacks someone in their home (including gardens), in or on private property. A dog doesn’t have to have bitten or physically injured someone for an offence to take place. If a person feels your dog MAY hurt them, they could still be considered ‘dangerously out of control’. This applies to ALL dogs of all sizes and breeds.


  • You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.
  • If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years or fined (or both). If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.
  • If you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine (or both).
  • If you allow your dog to injure an assistance dog (for example a guide dog) you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years or fined (or both).

Environmental Protection Act 1990

If dogs bark excessively over a long period of time, they are very likely to become a noisy nuisance to your neighbours. Your Local Authority Environmental Health Officer has the authority (and power) to formally ask you to stop your dog’s excessive barking. If you fail to adhere to this order, they have the power to remove your dog,

Road Traffic Act 1988, section 27; Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a blanket law requiring dogs to be kept on a lead in all public spaces, but there are orders affecting certain spaces. Local authorities have powers to introduce relevant orders under a number of different laws. Look out for signage in these areas.

Public Spaces Protection Orders

Some public areas in England and Wales are covered by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) – previously called Dog Control Orders (DCOs).

In public areas with PSPOs, you may have to:

  • keep your dog on a lead
  • put your dog on a lead if told to by a police officer, police community support officer or someone from the council
  • stop your dog going to certain places – like farmland or parts of a park
  • limit the number of dogs you have with you (this applies to professional dog walkers too)
  • clear up after your dog
  • carry a poop scoop and disposable bags

Environmental Protection Act (1990), Litter (Animal Droppings) Order 1991; Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Scoop that poop!

Road Traffic Act 1988, section 170

Drivers who injure dogs with their car, motorbike or other vehicle must give their name and address to the owner, or person in charge of the dog. If the dog is unaccompanied at the time, the driver should report the incident to the police within 24 hours.

Animals Act 1971, section 2

Claims can be brought against dog owners who are proven to be liable if their dog causes a road incident that causes injury, illness or death.

The Highway Code rule 57

Requires dogs (and other animals) to be ‘suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly’

Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, Animals Act 1971, section 3

Owners must prevent dogs from attacking or chasing livestock, or not being on a lead or under close control in a field containing sheep.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

All Local authorities have a statutory duty to hold stray dogs for seven days. If the stray dog is not claimed after seven days, the authority can find the dog a new home or euthanise them.

Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Since October 2018, people who run a business looking after dogs in their own home have needed a licence to do so from their local authority. Dog sitters are people who look after dogs in the dog’s home, and these regulations do not apply to them. A licence is needed for home boarders whether they keep dogs in their home during the daytime only or overnight.

Facilities offering day care for dogs at a business premises must be licensed by the local authority. People who take dogs into their own homes during the day are considered ‘home boarders’ under the law and should be licensed under home boarding regulations.

Dog Walking Businesses

Currently there is no UK-wide legislation covering professional dog walking. Some Local Authorities require dog walking businesses to be licensed, speak to your local council to find out if relevant bye-laws exist in your area.

Reporting a dog

Anyone can report a dog and their owner to the police.

You can report a dangerous dog to your council’s dog warden service.

You can also report dog fouling to your local council.

Until next time



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