The Leagle Beagle – Dog Control Orders – Reasonable or Ridiculous?!

shutterstock_126423680

Dog Control Orders – Reasonable or Ridiculous?

It had been my intention to write this edition of my blog about animal welfare law. However, recent coverage in the press and on Radio 2 peaked my interest into another matter. There has been some controversy about professional dog walkers in London. Apparently some professional walkers are  walking up to 10 dogs each and have been accused of intimidating other dog walkers in the parks. This in turn has also allegedly created fear about possible pack driven dog attacks. In this context there has been some debate about how, when and how many dogs should be allowed into our public parks?

The truth is this is not a new issue and legislation was introduced in 2005 to give local authorities powers to control where and how dogs are exercised in publically accessible areas.

Local Authorities have had the ability since 2005 to create Dog Control Orders in areas that are publically accessible such as parks. It is not a power restricted solely to land owned by the local authority, the land just needs to be accessible and open to the public. The Clean Air and Environment Act 2005 provided that orders could be created that ;

  • Controlled dog fouling
  • Required dogs to be kept on the lead when directed
  • Required dogs to be kept on the lead at all times
  • Specified the maximum number of dogs that would be permitted onto such land

The orders specify a sanction for non-compliance which is by way of a fixed penalty notice and a fine of at least £75, although it can be more. Failure to discharge the fixed penalty notice can lead to prosecution and a heftier fine.

These powers have largely been exercised by local authorities in a proportionate and reasonable way. Your own Legal Beagle has drafted a number of these over the years. To a large extent they have been fairly uncontroversial because the approach taken has been sensible. For example, the majority of responsible dog owners would accept that a prohibition of dogs in an animal petting farm for example would not be inappropriate or a requirement to keep dogs on the lead near a dangerous stretch of highway. Further, responsible dog owners are not going to object to controls in respect of dog fouling. After all dog fouling can ruin the environment for everyone and it is well documented that dog faeces can be dangerous for children. Sadly the irresponsible few continue to tarnish the view of dog owners by the majority.

So, would it be reasonable to restrict the number of dogs an individual can walk in a public place at any given time? There must be some argument to say that even the most experienced dog walker would physically struggle to control 10 dogs, even on leads. Therefore, perhaps it would not be unreasonable to restrict the amount any individual can be responsible for in a public place, but to how many? Oxford has done this and specified the number as 4, as had Birmingham City Council more recently.

Even more controversial though, how about the argument then that dogs should be banned from some public parks altogether? Given that the majority of local authorities have orders in place prohibiting dogs from play areas and land used for education, any decision to ban all dogs from parks just because children use some part of the park would seem perverse and disproportionate.

There is definitely a group within our society who have root and branch opposition towards dogs and would probably like to see them removed from all our parks and public spaces. Thankfully, I think this is unlikely to happen, the law has been applied sensibly to date.  It is also comforting to know that local authorities have to act reasonably and have to consult when they wish to make these orders . This gives those affected the opportunity to make representations or canvass their local councillor to do so on their behalf.

 

Dog Destination loves ….. “Teach Your Child to Speak Dog!”

Dog Destination loves ….. “Teach Your Child to Speak Dog!”

blue cross        blueecross 2     bluecross3

( Images from resources of www.bluecross.org.uk)

As a parent and dog owner you want to ensure that your child and dog get on. To most dog owning  parents you naturally teach your child how to behave around and read your own dog  and other dogs they may not have met before.

However, I am sure many of you will have had the awful experience, while walking your dog, that a child sees your dog and starts to shriek for no reason other than because they are “frightened of dogs”. This type of reaction is always worrying because, if anything, it makes the child more susceptible to a dog being startled and snapping because the animal is afraid.

Keeping children safe around dogs is in everyone’s best interests. It is always terrible to read headlines about dog attacks. However, the responsibility to keep safe is a shared one. Of course as a dog owner you must and should keep your dog under control but equally parents should educate their children on how to behave to keep them safe.

We happened upon an article about a “Speak Dog and Stay Safe Scheme” An educational programme aimed at teaching children how to stay safe around dogs. It was developed by Rosie Barclay who is the chair of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors. In Jersey this is taught to all year one pupils which we think is a superb idea.

Having looked into this matter we have found lots of free resources out there and these include ;

PRESCHOOL

The Blue Dog –  http://www.thebluedog.org/en/

The Dogs Trust – Learn with Dogs http://www.learnwithdogs.co.uk/preschoolreseources

PRIMARY SCHOOL

The Blue Cross – Be Safe with Dogs – http://www.bluecross.org.uk/1958-2850/be-safe-with-dogs-html

The Dogs Trust – Learn with Dogs – http://www.learnwithdogs.co.uk/primaryResources.aspx

SECONDARY/TEENAGERS

The Blue Dog – http://www.thebluedog.org/en

The Blue Cross – http://www.bluecross.org.uk/1752-84261/inspiring-teenagers-to-train-their-dogs.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Leagle Beagle – Compulsory Microchipping – The New Law

shutterstock_126423680

Microchipping – The New Law

From April 2016 is will be compulsory for your dog to be microchipped in England. This is already the case in other parts of UK such as Northern Ireland and is due to be compulsory in Wales from March 2015.

Calls for compulsory microchipping were supported by charities such as the Dogs Trust, the British Veterinary Association and the Blue Cross. It was considered that the introduction of a mandatory scheme would have a significant and positive welfare impact. This is not surprising when figures from The Dogs Trust Stray Dogs Survey 2013 showed that there were an enormous 111, 986 stray dogs taken in by local authorities last year alone and only 53, 610 of those were successfully reunited with their owners. Microchipping has made a difference so far with 40% of those reunions in 2013 being attributable to the dog being chipped, compared to 22% in 2012. However, clearly the more dogs that are chipped the better for everyone.

 The reason microchipping is preferred to licensing schemes or ID tags is because unlike a dog tag or a paper licence,  which can be removed or altered, the inserted microchip becomes part of the dog and is virtually impossible to tamper with.

The Dogs Trust also cite a number of other welfare benefits resulting from microchipping, including:

  • All puppies are traceable to their breeder thereby helping reduce the problem of puppy farming and lessening the incidence of infectious disease and inherited defects from  which many of these dogs suffer
  • Deterrent to dog theft
  • Allows for rapid return, meaning that local authorities are able to emphasise to the dog owners      concerned that straying is not acceptable, the intention being that this  education will lessen the likelihood of a dog straying again and reinforce  the responsibilities of the owners under the Animal Welfare Act 2006
  • Easier identification and  subsequent arrests of owners culpable of animal cruelty
  • Enables veterinary surgeons to contact dog owners for emergency procedures
  • Allows identification of  dogs in properties in emergency situations so that dogs and owners can be  moved and reunited more quickly

( The Dogs Trust 2014)

The exact details of how the compulsory scheme will be enforced, by whom and what exemptions there will be have  not yet been released. What is known at this time is that a penalty of £500 for non-compliance has been set. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

Thankfully, people are increasingly having their dog’s microchipped voluntarily, after all the majority of us love our dogs like family and would be bereft if they were lost or stolen.

How do you get this done if you haven’t already? Well, your local vet can provide further information but it usually costs no more than £20-30  and is no more uncomfortable than a vaccination for your pet.

Alternatively, if money is a real issue, then look out for the microchipping surgeries being run by the various pet charities this year. You will be able to have your dog microchipped for free or for a small donation. See for example;

http://www.bluecross.org.uk/90804/blue-cross-guide-to-microchipping-dogs-and-cats.html

http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/m/microchipping/#.U0v3arsU9Yc

http://www.battersea.org.uk/help_advice/responsible_ownership/microchipping.html

And finally please read this heart-warming true story from Birmingham Dogs Home about a Pug named Daisy!

http://www.birminghamdogshome.org.uk/news-and-events?aid=4076

This is the best advertisement for complying voluntarily!

Next Time – The Animal Welfare At 2006 – What you need to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog Destination loves …..

ancol

 

We love variety, colour and texture but sometimes you just want to go classic! Classic can be cool.

Ancol make fabulous classic collars and leads using traditional craftsmanship at surprisingly reasonable prices (starting at just £3.50!) and they are made right here in the UK. Each collar and lead is made of quality leather which softens and improves over time . We particularly love the classic red collar.

Picture3

 

and the luxurious vintage chestnut padded collars.

chestnut

 

With matching leads available for both collars why not treat your dog, they are worth it!

 

 

 

 

The Legal Beagle -Dogs and ID Tags -The Law in Brief

shutterstock_126423680

 

  • It is a legal requirement for every dog while out on the street or in public places such as parks, town centres etc. to wear a collar with the name and the address of the owner upon it or on an attached plate or badge. This law was introduced under The Control of Dogs Order 1992.
  • If you fail to comply and are prosecuted on conviction you could be fined up to £5000.
  • Further if your dog is lost without a tag and not otherwise identifiable by tattoo or microchip then your dog could be seized as a stray under S149 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 you would be responsible for any kennelling fees, vets bills and a further prescribed fee before being able to retrieve your dog.
Please note the Legal Beagle is intended to be informative but does not constitute legal advice.

Next week :The Introduction of Compulsory Microchipping in England