Restrictions on Animals in the UK

Information about pet registration, ownership guidelines and rules regarding dangerous dogs in the UK...

Identification and Registration of Pets

There is currently no national mandatory dog licence scheme in Great Britain. However, under the Control of Dogs Act 1992, every dog must wear a collar with its owner's details inscribed on the collar when a dog is in a public place. Failure to do so can result in prosecution and a fine. Microchips and tattoos are not legally required, but are becoming increasingly popular as a means of safeguarding against missing pets.

The Dangerous Dogs Act

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 it is illegal to breed, sell or exchange fighting dogs such as Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Filo Brazilieros. These dogs must be registered, neutered, microchipped, tattooed and insured, as well as being muzzled and kept on leads when in public places.

The law also states that, regardless of the breed, if a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place, the owner, or person temporarily in charge, is guilty of an offence. The definition of being dangerously out of control is if the dog injures a person, or there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will do so.

Dog Control Orders

Dog Control Orders (DCOs) form a part of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act of 2005, and may be enforced by local councils and result in a fine. The offences are: failing to remove dog faeces, not keeping a dog on a lead, permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded and taking more than a specified number of dogs onto land.

Buying a Pet

There are no special laws that apply to a contract when buying or selling a pet. When buying a pedigree dog, it is advisable to go through a Kennel Club accredited breeder, rather than through a pet shop.

The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) is the regulatory body for breeders of pedigree cats.