Owning A Dog – What Are Your Legal Responsibilities?

Having a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have, however, there can be no denying that it is also a big responsibility, with many legal requirements. Owners must ensure the well-being and safety of their pets and those around them. Here is a list of legal obligations that every pet owner should be aware of before purchasing or rescuing a dog.

Ensure your dog’s well-being: physically and mentally – 

Animal Welfare Act is a legal duty of care created in 2006. This act states that animals much be protected from disease, pain, suffering, and injury. This includes but is not limited to training methods – none should be used that cause pain either physically or mentally to your dog. Ensure your dog receives prompt veterinary care if needed, and make sure that it has all necessary vaccinations to prevent diseases. Take a proactive approach at all times.

Identification is mandatory 

It is a legal requirement for dogs to wear collars with identity tags whenever they’re in public spaces, this should ideally include the dog’s name and a phone number or address in which you live at. You must ensure that your dog is microchipped, in the case of their collar becoming lost or if they are stollen and they try to remove identification.


Control your dog in public 

The Dog Control Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) protects the public from behaviour causing negative effects on the quality of life of those in public spaces. It is a criminal offense to not pick up dog waste, not have your dog on a lead unless stated, or to walk a large number of dogs (usually up to 6). Ensure you read all signs to ensure that it is allowed to let your dog off the lead in certain areas, as otherwise you could be banned from using that area of land or prosecuted.

Keep your dog on a lead near Livestock 

If your dog gets worried and attacks cows, sheep or horses then the person in charge of the dog is committing an offense, and the owner can also be prosecuted. If your dog chases any agriculture, the farmer has a legal right to shoot your dog to protect their stock. Ensure this does not happen and keep them on a lead if you are unsure how they may react.