Dogs and the Law


It is the legal duty of all dog owners to clean up after their dogs. If you are found not to clear up your dogs mess you could be fined or face prosecution. Always carry an ample supply of poo bags with you, and dispose of them carefully.

When people don’t clean up after their dogs it fuels arguments from anti-dog people within local councils and the public, for dog bans in some parks and open spaces such as beaches. It would be devastating for the dog loving community if these bans were put into place, but local councils and MP’s receive thousands of letters complaining about dog mess and calling for bans. As responsible owners it is up to us to try to prove them wrong!


The Control of Dogs Order from 1992 requires that every dog must wear a collar or ID tag with its owners name and address on it when in a public place.

If a dog is found without one it will be treated as a stray and taken by the dog warden. The owner can be fined and prosecuted for this offence. If your dog is taken by the dog warden, your dog can legally be sold or destroyed by the council if it is not claimed after 7 days.

Many people still let their dogs roam around the neighbourhood of their own free will. Not only is this dangerous for the dogs, who could, and do, get injured, but they could cause car accidents on busy roads.

It is also illegal to have your dog off lead when near a public road. Even if you are 100% confident that your dog will always walk to heel and not stray in the road, you cannot predict that another unfriendly dog may run over and chase your dog away.


It is illegal to urge your dog to attack, worry or frighten any other animal or person. If someone complains that your dog is dangerous and not under proper control you may be ordered to keep it muzzled or have it destroyed.

The Dangerous Dogs Act Part 3 applies to all breeds of dog, and states that it is a criminal offence to have a dog dangerously out of control in a public place. This also applies where there is a fear that injury MAY occur. Your dog does not need to bite or attack at all, all that is required is that a person was afraid that the dog may bite or attack. These dogs may be destroyed and the owners could face prison and a fine.


Dogs may be shot without warning by farmers for worrying their livestock. You could also be fined or prosecuted. Please always ensure your dog is on lead particularly when around sheep, particularly in lambing season, to make sure this does not happen to you!