UK laws dog owners may not be aware of

PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) estimates that 50% of adults in the UK own a pet, with around 51 million pets being residents in our homes. We are certainly a nation of pet lovers. It splits pretty evenly among dogs and cats – doing nothing to settle the debate on which is best – according to the PAW report around 9.9 million (26%) of Brits own a dog compared with 10.9m who own cats. 

But are those 9.9 million dog owners aware of the unusual pet laws which if broken can lead up to a fine of over £5,000?

According to new research issued by pet food retailer Webbox, there is much pet-related legislation of which many people are not aware. From failing to carry extra poo bags to letting your dog mate with the royal family’s dogs without permission, the pet food retailer has revealed some of the “obscure” pet laws in the UK.

Microchipping your pets

At the beginning of the year, the government urged pet owners to microchip all cats and dogs in a newly launched appeal. The government said in a new statement that microchipping was “a vital part of being a responsible pet owner.” Failure to do so by the time it is eight weeks old is illegal and can result in a fine of up to £500.

The ‘two bag rule’

It is the dog owner’s responsibility to carry poo bags on every walk and pick up after their dog. The Sun reported that Daventry District Council in Northamptonshire, as well as Boston Borough council in Lincolnshire, could issue fines of £100 if dog owner fails to pick up after their dog at the request of an authorised officer. In other parts of the UK a heftier fine of £1,000 can be levied.

In 2017, The Sun reported dog owners could be given an £80 fine if they fail to carry at least two waste bags to pick up after their fluffy friends. It stems from Canterbury City Council figures which showed nobody has been prosecuted for poo-related fines since 2014/15. Councils always need to find a way of raising money through often questionable methods, and so they introduced the “two-bag rule”.

A spokesperson from Canterbury City Council told The Sun: “The difficulty has been the need to catch perpetrators in the act, but we hope we’ve found a solution. Our enforcement officers would expect responsible dog owners to carry at least two bags.”

Car journeys with your furry friend

If your dog is not securely fastened during a car journey, you could face up to a fine of up to £5,000 as well as having your car insurance revoked.

According to research commissioned by vehicle leasing company All Car Leasing, taking a pet on a motorway could be a costly experience, especially if the owner is unfortunate enough to experience a breakdown. 

The research states that taking your pet out of a car to the side of the motorway could result in a fine of £2,500 and up to six penalty points on your licence, according to section 56 of the Highway Code. 

Mating with the Queen’s corgis

According to The Daily Mail, pet owners could face fines if their dog is caught mating with any animals from the royal household, such as one of the Queen’s corgis.

Burying your dog in the wrong place

Grieving over a pet is never easy, especially when putting them to rest. According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the law states it is illegal to bury your pet anywhere but the grounds of the house it lived in, but the pet owner must own the house, and not rent. 

Also, the deceased dog must not be classed as being “hazardous to human health.”

Other unusual pet laws from across the globe include, according to PBS travel

Switzerland: Before being allowed to become a dog owner, people are required to pass written and verbal tests.

USA: Residents of Oklahoma are so protective over their dogs that the state has forbidden anyone pulling “ugly faces” at dogs, if anyone is caught doing the said act, they could face a fine or even time in jail.

Norway: In Norway, only male cats and dogs are neutered, as females are spared by the law.

China: China imposed a law that restricts a household to one dog and the dog must be under 35.5cm tall.

Sweden: In Sweden, people believe dogs can dream too and they have enforced the law resulting in any puppy that attends a doggy-day-care centre must by law be able to see outside a sunny window.

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