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Is it legal to walk my dog without their collar and ID tag?

In this Is it Legal to… we explore what dog owners are required by law to do around registering their dog and the new legislation that is coming into force in England on the 10th June 2024 regarding cat ownership.

Is it legal to walk my dog without their collar and ID tag?

Have you taken your dog’s collar off so ‘they’re more comfortable’ and then forgot to pop it back on for their morning walk?

You might be surprised to know that yes, it is against the law for your dog to be out in public without identification.

Under the Control of Dogs Act 1992, “every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it”.

Does this apply if my dog is on the lead?

Yes! Even if your dog is safely on a lead, they still require the necessary identification.

Are there any exceptions to this law?

Yes, the Act does provide an exhaustive list of exceptions, which include (but not exclusive to):

  • While being used for sporting purposes.
  • While being used for the driving or tending of cattle or sheep.
  • While being used on official duties by a member of the police force for any area.
  • While being used in emergency rescue work, or
  • Any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

What kind of trouble can I find myself in?

If the owner or person in control of the dog allows the dog to be on a highway or public place without an ID tag, and cannot provide a legitimate excuse as to why, they will be guilty of an offence under the Animal Health Act 1981.

The punishment for which is a fine up of to £5,000!

Are there any other laws I need to be aware of?

Yes! All dogs in the UK must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old. It’s therefore common practice that the breeder ensures the puppy is microchipped before they go to their new home.

If your dog is not microchipped, the police will provide you with a notice to have your dog microchipped within 21 days. If you do not comply, your pup may be removed from your care and you may also receive a fine of up to £2,500.

New law change for cat owners

From 10th June 2024, new legislation in England comes into force, requiring cats also to be microchipped and registered on a database by the time they are 20 weeks old.

Non-compliance could risk a fine of £500.

For more information about microchipping your pet, please visit: www.gov.uk/get-your-dog-cat-microchipped.

This article was produced on the 22nd May 2024 for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.