There are currently 8.5 million dogs in the UK with 24% of households owning a dog. Those of us already smitten with our rag-tag, furry families know how wonderful they are, however, 76% of households won’t necessarily have the same appreciation!
As dog owning families, it is our responsibility to protect our animals and their reputations. However, legislation can be complex and difficult to understand, so here are some key elements of the UK’s Dangerous Dog’s Act that we want all our adopters, supporters & foster carer’s to be aware of:
- The Act deems that both those ‘with whom the dog habitually lives’ and ‘anyone who temporarily has possession of that dog’ is liable for any actions of that dog, whilst in their care.
- As the owner, you can be found criminally liable if someone has a reasonable fear of injury from your dog.
- Injury can be a scratch, being knocked over, being bruised, and not, as commonly thought, limited to a bite.
- The DDA does not apply to a dog on dog incident, unless either: a human is injured during an incident or an assistance dog is harmed.
The sentencing regime for any act for which dog owners are found criminally liable is:
- Up to 5 years for an injury;
- Up to 14 years for a death;
- Up to 3 years for injury to an Assistance Dog;
The conditions and responsibilities of the Dangerous Dog’s Act highlight the importance of insuring your dog. Insurance is not a requirement by law however it is an significant element of caring for and owning a dog that can help in the event of a dog causing damage or injury.
At Wild at Heart Foundation, we advise that, all responsible dog owners have the necessary insurance cover in place.
This liability insurance should cover, as a minimum:
- Injuries to people
- Damage to Property
- Injuries to assistance animals
Pet insurance can also cover costs such as veterinary bills, loss and theft of your pet, treatment of behavioural problems and death by illness or injury.
Owning or walking several dogs together?
New regulations cover limitations on how many dogs should be walked at any one time.
You will be limited to walking no more than 4-6 dogs out together at any one time.
At Wild at Heart Foundation, we would strongly advise a cap of 4 dogs when walking, as it becomes difficult for any individual to sufficiently control any more than this number, no matter how experienced. Sadly, no matter how well you know the dogs in your care, it is hard to foresee how any dog will react to unknown situations and the more you have in your care the harder it can be to manage. Exceeding this limit may also affect your insurance if anything were to go wrong.
It is up to dog owners to find out the new legislation from the council under the Public Spaces Protection Order.