Responsible Dog Ownership

Dog ownership and the Law

Your legal responsibilities as a dog owner are as follows:

  • Your dog must wear a collar, showing your name and address, when in a public place (even if the dog is tattooed or microchipped.)
  • You must clean up your dog's mess. If you fail to pick up and dispose of your dog's mess, you can be issued with a fixed penalty of £50 or if prosecuted with a maximum court fine of £1000 and a criminal record.
  • Stray dogs picked up by the dog warden will incur a charge before being reunited with the owner.
  • If your dog causes injury or damage to a person, property or livestock, you may have to pay compensation.
  • It is an offence for any dog to be 'dangerously out of control' in a public place.
  • You can be prosecuted if your dog is a nuisance to your neighbours, with a maximum fine of £5,000.

All dogs must be microchipped by 6 April 2016

The Law is changing about dog microchipping. All dogs must be microchipped by 6 April 2016. There will be a fine of up to £500 for failure to microchip. See our microchipping page for further information.

Dog ownership code of conduct

A guide to responsible dog ownership:

  • Check that any identification product (microchip or ID tag)your dog has is kept up-to-date.
  • Make sure your dog does not approach other people or dogs on leads without permission.
  • Always keep your dog under proper control.
  • Never let your dog off the lead near farm animals.
  • Never leave dogs in cars, even in mild weather.
  • Always put your dog in a crate or a seat belt harness when travelling.
  • Register your dog with a vet and go for regular checks ups and inoculations.
  • Treat and check regularly for fleas and worms.
  • Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop.
  • Train your dog to be sociable.
  • Groom your dog regularly and keep them clean.
  • Choose toys wisely as wooden sticks can cause serious injuries, or death.
  • Feed your dog at regular times with a nutritionally balanced diet
  • Neutering is always advisable unless you want to breed from your dog.
  • Always clear up after your dog. Scoop the poop.
  • Stop your dog from barking too much.
  • Make sure someone responsible looks after your dog when you are away and that they have the contact details of your vet.