Dog Law Updates
5a The Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (2014) came into effect on October 20th 2014. It provides legislative changes for dog owners in two main areas.
1. Dog control
It gives new powers to local authorities and the police to deal with irresponsible dog owners by way of issuing Community Protection Notices. These notices intend to reduce the number of irresponsible dog owners that allow their dogs to be out of control, by targeting them at the first signs of anti-social behaviour.
Whilst we remain disappointed that breed specific legislation has not been repealed, we were pleased to see the above notices introduced in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act as a preventative measure, which is a campaign issue that the Kennel Club has long campaigned for. Further, in the government guidance, local authorities are very much encouraged to engage with dog owners proactively prior to issuing such notices, which we welcome.
2. Dog Access
Under the Act, Dog Control Orders have been replaced by Public Space Protection Orders since 20th October 2014. These new provisions will follow a similar framework to Dog Control Orders, but will be more general to allow targeted responses depending on the issue that has arisen. Examples of such orders could include:
- excluding dogs from designated areas (e.g. a children's play area in a park);
- requiring dog faeces to be picked up by owners;
- requiring dogs to be kept on leads;
- restricting the number of dogs that can be walked by one person at any one time;
- and putting in place other restrictions or requirements to tackle or prevent any other activity that is considered to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, or is likely to have such an effect.
There is no requirement for the local authorities to advertise details of any current consultations in a local newspaper, and as such we secured a recommendation in the Act's guidance that authorities should consult with the Kennel Club in order to help disseminate information through to KC dog members as effectively as possible.
5b Pet Travel Changes
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be introducing changes to the Pet Travel Scheme from 29th December 2014 to help reduce abuse of the current system and improve the security of the scheme and the traceability of the pet passport.
Under the new changes, the main requirements of owners from the Pet Travel Scheme for pets entering and leaving the UK will remain the same and will still include mandatory microchipping, vaccination against rabies, blood tests, pet passport and treatment against tapeworm.
Some of the new changes being introduced are:
- introduction of new pet passports that will include laminated strips and a requirement for more contact details to be provided by the vet issuing the document and certifying the veterinary treatments
- an exemption to the rules on the number of pets allowed to travel for people travelling to attend a show, competition or event
- a new minimum age of 12 weeks before a pet can be vaccinated against rabies
- a new requirement for all member states in the EU to carry out checks on their borders
- a tighter definition of non-commercial movement which will mean owners who cannot travel with their pet when they enter the EU, must do so within 5 days; owners can still authorise another person to travel with their pet, but again the pet and authorised person must travel within 5 days of each other.
For more information, please visit: www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad.
Whilst the Kennel Club supports these new changes, we remained concern to what extent they will be effective in tackling the current problems surrounding illegal imports. The checks will only work if individuals declare themselves as transporting animals. However, we continue to see an increasing number of illegal imports of puppies being disguised as pets in order to exploit the loopholes in the pet travel scheme as the Dogs Trust report highlighted recently.
The Kennel Club's public affairs team will continue to work with Defra to improve the legislation to prevent illegal imports. In the meantime, it is important the public knows where to high quality sources of information about how to buy a puppy responsibly. For more information, please visit: www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/puppy-farming/puppy-awareness-week/.
5c Microchipping will be compulsory!
The Microchipping of Dogs Regulations 2014 announced by government late October will make microchipping compulsory for all dogs in England from 6th April 2016.
- As a dog owner, you should be aware of the below:
- For every dog that is currently microchipped, you will have until 6th April 2016 to get them microchipped and registered on an approved database.
- From 6th April 2016, all dogs must be microchipped and registered on an approved database by the time they are 8 weeks old.
- Any changes to your details (e.g. moving house, change of number, etc) must be updated on an approved database.
- No dogs can change keepership until they have been microchipped and the contact details recorded on an approved database.
- If your dog experiences an adverse reaction to a microchip or it fails to work, this must be reported to the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
- Your dog is legally exempt from being microchipped only when a vet certifies that it cannot be microchipped for health reasons and fills in the appropriate paperwork.
- Anyone implanting your dog with a microchip from 6th April 2016 must be a veterinary professional or have been on a Government approved training course.
- The new microchipping regulations do not affect the Control of Dogs Order 1992 which will still require you to ensure that when your dog is in a public place, it must wear a collar with your name and address written on it or engraved on an identity tag.
The Kennel Club supports the introduction of compulsory microchipping and believes it will help towards facilitating faster reunification between dog and owner, as well as also having beneficial spill-over effects on dog theft and puppy farming. The team continues to work with Defra to ensure the new regulations are successfully implemented.