Responsible Ownership

Owning a dog comes with many responsibilities, including legal obligations which all owners should be aware of.

Training

All dogs should be properly trained to ensure they do not become a nuisance. Puppy socialisation is very important and many training classes will hold specific puppy training events.

Health

It is very important that dogs are kept vaccinated and wormed and that they receive veterinary care should they become ill or injured.

Neutering is recommended as this prevents unwanted litters, can reduce certain behaviours and eliminates many potential health implications.

Care

All owners have responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, to ensure that the needs of their dogs are met. Further information can be found below in external links.

Identification

All dogs should be properly identified in line with the law.

It is now mandatory throughout the United Kingdom for all dog owners to have their dogs microchipped and recorded with a government compliant microchip database.

Microchipping is a simple, safe and quick procedure which makes reuniting dogs with their owners much more likely. A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and the procedure, which is carried out by a vet or trained microchip implanter, takes only a few minutes and lasts a lifetime.

Dog breeders must ensure that puppies are microchipped and recorded by the time they are eight weeks old and before they are sold.

When a dog is transferred, the new owner’s (keeper’s) details must be added to the database. If an owner moves home or changes the telephone number, these details should be updated. Failure to keep these details up to date means that, in the eyes of the law, the dog is no longer considered microchipped and a fine can apply.

Key facts

  • All dogs in the UK must be microchipped
  • Puppies must be microchipped by 8 weeks
  • Breeders will be responsible for microchipping and must be recorded as the first keeper
  • The recorded keepers (where the dog resides) MUST keep contact details up to date on a government compliant database
  • All dogs must still wear an ID tag

If a dog without a microchip comes to the attention of the authorities, its keeper may be served with a notice requiring the dog to be microchipped and may face criminal prosecution and a fine if they do not comply with the notice. If this notice is ignored then a fine can be issued or an enforcer can seize the dog and microchip it at the keeper’s expense.

Also, if the breeder or subsequent keepers of the dog do NOT update the dog’s details on a database that is compliant with the regulations, then a notice may be served to require the keeper to microchip the dog within 21 days of the served notice.

In 1992 it was made a legal requirement that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag. And although there is no legal requirement for a dog to have a collar and tag on private property, over the past three years approximately 2,800 dogs have gone missing from homes and gardens.

If a  dog is found in a public place not displaying a tag or badge with owners details displayed the owner may face criminal prosecution and a fine.

Last updated 29 October 2019
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