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Responsible dog ownership

Advice about dog ownership including welfare, aggressive and barking dogs and neutering.

Published: 20 January 2021

Last updated: 4 August 2022

Dogs can bring great joy and company into our lives, but it is up to the owner to ensure they are informed about the law and take care of the needs of their pets. 

Animal 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. You can report animal cruelty to the RSPCA.

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

Barking dogs

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

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, persistent barking is a statutory noise nuisance that can attract a fine or prosecution.

Complaints regarding barking dogs will be resolved by our animal warden. If a resolution cannot be achieved, the complaint will be passed back to our noise team.  

As a dog owner you can ensure that your dog does not cause a nuisance by: 

  • training your dog
  • providing your dog with regular exercise
  • if kept indoors, containing your dog in a room that is preferably the farthest away from neighbouring property
  • if your dog lives outside ensure that it has good food, water and an appropriate shelter at all times

Aggression 

To report dangerous dogs incidents, please dial 999 and ask for the police. 

We provide advice when dangerous dog reports come directly to us. Where this advice does not work, we will then work with the police to resolve the issue. Aggressive dog behaviour is enforced by the police under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991.  

As a dog owner, you are responsible for controlling your dog. You can be held liable for your dog’s behaviour even if it is not under your control. For example, if it is being walked by someone else, as stated in the Animals Act 1971.

Damage caused by owners training aggressive behaviour in 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 is not permitted to be. 

Read more about controlling your dog in public. 

Controlling your dog

There is a citywide Public Space Protection Order for dog fouling in force in Queen’s Park Ward, Churchill Estate, and Victoria Piazza.  

These orders signpost where dogs must be leashed and excluded from, such as children’s play areas and are enforceable if breached.

Neutering 

We work with the Dog's Trust to provide free neutering vouchers for use at participating vets.