Pet ownership in the UK has surged since the Covid pandemic as more people have sought companionship from a furry friend after being couped up in lockdown.
Around 3.2 million more pets were bought by households during lockdowns over the past two years, according to Pet Food Manufacturers Association, and there are now around 12 million cats and 12 million dogs in homes across the UK.
The demand for dog ownership increased after coronavirus restrictions forced people to spend more time at home, with pets helping to ease the feeling of loneliness following those long periods of isolation.
But while pups can offer a great source of companionship, owning a pet does come with a lot of responsibilities attached.
Keeping a pet pooch involves much more than just handling a dog’s day-to-day needs, and those who aren’t aware of what is expected as an owner could risk landing in trouble with the authorities - and incurring a hefty fine.
If you are a dog owner, or planning to welcome a pup into your home, it is important to be aware of these nine laws.
1. (Composite: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)
(Composite: Mark Hall / JPIMedia)
2. Dogs must be microchipped
It is a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped in the UK by the time your dog is eight weeks old. They must be registered with a database that meets government standards, such a Pet Log. Owners can be fined up to £500 for failing to do so and could have a court case filed against them.
3. Dogs must be kept under control
It is against the law to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public or private space. A dog is out of control if it injures someone, makes someone worried it might injure them, or attacks someone’s animal. An unlimited fine or six month prison sentence can be issued (or both) if a dog is out of control, and owners may be banned from having a dog in the future. If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to five years or fined (or both).
4. Dogs must be kept away from livestock
A dog must not chase or attack livestock on agricultural land and should be kept on a lead. If your dog is worrying livestock, a farmer has a right to stop your dog and even shoot it in some circumstances.