Are you walking your dog illegally?

Illegal dog tag

When we excitedly collect our new fur-baby and rush to the pet store to buy their collar and engraved name tag, did you stop to consider if you are actually including the details that are required by law?

A dog collar is more than just a decoration. When it comes to taking your dog out in public, it is a legal requirement.

If your dog’s tag has just a name and phone number, then you’re breaking the law!

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 state that every pet dog must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it.

Unless you, as the owner of the dog, or the person in charge of a dog (including dog walkers like myself!) can provide proof that this is not required, they will be considered guilty of an offence against the Animal Health Act 1981, and I can’t afford to be walking your dog illegally!

Your telephone number is not required by law but is nonetheless recommended as it helps the police, a vet or a stranger to contact you and return your dog if they get lost.

Your dog’s name is also optional. It may help thieves if they get hold of your dog by showing that they know the dogs name, but being called by its name may help your dog relax a little if it gets lost and is found by a stranger.

This requirement applies to ALL dogs except:

  • any pack of hounds,
  • any dog while being used for sporting purposes,
  • any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin,
  • any dog while being used for the driving or tending of cattle or sheep,
  • any dog while being used on official duties by a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces or Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise or the police force for any area,
  • any dog while being used in emergency rescue work, or
  • any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

These legal requirements of a dog collar apply when the dog is out in public, such as along a highway or public property. When inside the grounds of your home, for instance, these laws do not apply.

What happens if you are caught?

Any dog without a correct may be seized and treated as a stray dog under section 3 of the Dogs Act 1906 or under section 149 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  A dog warden has the power to enforce this law and if they find your dog without a suitably tagged collar, you can receive a fine of up to £5,000 for the offence.

It is important to understand when legal requirements of a dog collar should be adhered to as you wouldn’t want to be caught out unexpectedly. Of course, this law also means that, should you move to a new house, the collar will need updating. An outdated address is of no use to anyone and does not fulfil the requirements of the 1992 Order.

If you’re out in public with your dog, or someone else will be, please ensure your dog has a collar with the correct identification to protect yourself and your dog!