Dogs – Legal Responsibilities
In the run up to Christmas you may well be thinking of getting a dog for your household. This can be a great addition to your family – but does not come without some responsibilities. Do bear in mind that these responsibilities will include the following:-
You must register your pet with the council and buy an annual licence
You must keep your dog under control in public areas
You must put your dog on a lead and keep it on when told to do so by an authorised officer
Dogs may be completely banned from specific areas.
You may not take more than a specified number of dogs onto land.
You must remove dog faeces.
Your dog should wear a collar with an ID tag attached.
Do not let your dog become a noise nuisance to your neighbours
You must have your dog micro chipped.
You can be prosecuted for failing to maintain your dog to a healthy standard
In 1991 The Dangerous Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order was made law. It is useful to note some of it’s provisions as follows:-
It is an offence to breed a dog for the purpose of fighting
Dangerous dogs are classified as including pit bull terriers, the Japanese tosa and any dog bred for fighting.
Breach of the Order can result in a prison term of up to 6 months or a court fine.
The local authority can seize a dog considered to be dangerous
You can be prosecuted if your dog attacks a person or livestock
You can be disqualified from keeping a dog for 12 months or more
If you are transporting your dog in your car – there is no specific offence for not having it suitably restrained. The Highway Code does recommend that a pet is restrained in a moving vehicle – but do remember that the police have a discretion to recommend a prosecution for any action they consider to be careless driving; and a loose dog in your car, distracting you while driving might just qualify.
As with most aspects of the law – simple common sense goes a long way. If you are sensible and responsible with your dog then you will most likely never run into difficulties. If you are found to be on the wrong side of the law go see a solicitor to assist with any prosecution that you may face. If you are having problems with someone else’s pet dog, then speak to the local council for assistance.