Owning a dog involves much more than playing fetch and going on long walks - it carries huge responsibility.
As well as handling the day-to-day needs of pups and ensuring they are well cared for, there are strict rules that all dog owners are required to follow by law.
If you already own a dog, or are planning to welcome a furry friend into your home, here are 10 laws you need to know about and the fines you will face if you fall foul of the rules.
1. Dogs must be microchipped
It is a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This must be done by the time your dog is eight weeks old and they must be registered with a database that meets government standards, such a Pet Log. You can be fined up to £500 if you fail to do this and could have a court case filed against you.
2. Collars must be worn
The Control of Dogs Order 1992 law for England and Scotland states requires dogs to wear a collar with its owner’s name and address on it by law. The tag must include a postcode, but it is not obligatory to list a phone number. Owners who fail to do so could face an unlimited fine and/or up to six months imprisonment.
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. Owners can be issued an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months (or both) for falling foul of this and may be banned from owning a dog in the future. The dog may also be put down. If you allow your dog to injure someone, you could face a five year prison sentence and be fined.
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 it and even shoot it in some circumstances.