Time for Walkies for National Walking Month

The month of May brings National Walking month to the UK, and Living Streets is challenging the nation to #Try20 encouraging everyone to try and fit 20 minutes walking into their day.

Tip: Just 20 minutes of walking every day helps you to feel fitter, brighter, and increases metabolism.

Walking your dog is a great way to spend time outside and it’s easy to get 20 minutes in without thinking about it. But are you being a responsible dog owner whilst out walking, and are you mindful of other dogs, walkers and your surroundings?

Dog laws are put in place to ensure responsible pet ownership and safety for those who interact with them. Here’s quick guide to help you find out more…

Laws for controlling dogs

Your dog is ‘under control’ if it is being held on a lead by someone who is able to use equal force to restrain the dog if it tries to pull away.

It’s against the law to let a dog be ‘dangerously out of control’ anywhere, such as:

  • in a public place
  • in a private place, eg a neighbour’s house or garden
  • in the owner’s home

And a dog is considered to be ‘dangerously out of control’ if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is ‘dangerously out of control’ if either:

  • it attacks someone’s animal
  • the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal

The penalties for a dangerously out of control dog are an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to 6 months (or both) and if you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years or fined (or both).

Fixed Penalties

There are certain incidents which will call for a fixed penalty as an alternative to prosecution. These offences include:

  • straying
  • keeping a dog without a licence
  • failing to display identification information on a collar/tag
  • failing to keep a dog under control on certain roads where livestock is present
  • failing to notify the council of the transfer of a dog whose licence is subject to a control condition
  • contravention of any control condition
  • and from the 6th of April 2016 in the UK… failing to have your dog microchipped and its ownership details recorded on a database

The default level for a fixed penalty is £75, although a council may set its own level from £50 to £80.

Dog Fouling

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 means that a dog owner found not clearing up after their dog can receive a penalty up to £1,000.

Barking and Dagenham are running a pioneering programme of dog DNA tests to catch owners who do not clear up after their pets’ fouling.

Being aware of the laws that affect you and your dog allow a more responsible dog owner and encourages others to do the same.

PetSafe® are dedicated to promoting safe and healthy pets and owners.

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