Dog ownership

1. Welfare

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, an offence is committed if an animal is caused to suffer.

Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or doesn't provide for its basic needs, may be banned from owning animals, fined or sent to prison.

For more information about providing basic needs see the Animal Welfare Act.

Report animal cruelty to the RSPCA

2. Aggression

Aggressive dog behaviour is enforceable by the police under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991. Council animal wardens can investigate the issue and liaise with the police.

Owners are responsible for controlling their dog (Animals Act 1971). Damage caused by owners training their dogs, for example tree damage from dogs strengthening their jaws, is considered enforceable under the Dangerous Dogs Act and should be reported to the police.

It is an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to have a dog that is dangerously out of control in a public place, or a private place where it's not permitted to be.

To report dangerous dogs, please contact the police.

Read more about controlling your dog in public.

3. Neutering

Neutering is the general term used for the surgical removal of the reproductive organs in both male and female dogs. There are lots of established benefits in neutering your dog including behavioural, medical and financial.

Westminster works in conjunction with the Dog's Trust to provide free neutering vouchers for use at participating vets.

4. Barking dogs

Excessive dog barking can be a sign of loneliness, boredom, agitation and poor training.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it is an offence if your dog causes a nuisance to your neighbours. Complaints regarding barking dogs are dealt with by our animal warden in the first instance, and then passed to a noise officer if a resolution is not achieved. Dog owners can ensure that their dog does not cause a nuisance by:

  • training your dog
  • providing your dog with regular exercise
  • if kept indoors, contain the dog in one room, preferably the farthest away from the neighbouring property
  • if the dog lives outside ensure that it has food, water and shelter at all times
  • dog training clubs can help and are a good way to get your dog to socialise with other dogs

Last updated: 13 June 2018
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