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Huge shake up of UK dog ownership laws sees irresponsible owners slammed

Aggressive dog shows teeth dog-serious
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The government has unveiled plans for a fundamental amendment to the law of dog ownership, giving police greater powers to slam unscrupulous and irresponsible owners.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 13/11/2019, 16:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:22

Animal Welfare Minister Zac Goldsmith unveiled Sunday (10/11/19) the government’s radical shake-up of the laws governing dog control. Mr Goldsmith already hinted at such plans when he revealed a few months ago his looking at Swiss and French dog laws.

The proposals outline enhanced powers of police and authorities to apprehend those who cause their dogs to act anti-socially or violently in public. The new laws would be designed to promote responsible dog ownership and lessen the number of incidents of dog attacks in the UK.

The new laws would be similar in measure to current laws governing minor speeding offences.

Writes The Mail Online, “Irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs will be forced to take their pets on compulsory training lessons under plans being considered by the Government.”


The proposed changes to legislation follow the lobbying of the government by the British Veterinary Association, RSPCA, Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club. All of which have called for tighter governance of uncontrollable dogs by the penalising of owners.

If the police receive a complaint about a dog or witness an uncontrolled dog they would have the power to force the owner to attend an anti-social awareness class. The owner would be taught to know the signs of their dog’s anti-social behaviour, and how to control the dog in the event of its becoming unruly.

A French scheme which requires owners of ‘attack and guard dog’ breeds to be registered and take compulsory dog-handling training may also provide a blueprint for the UK government.

Labour’s election pledge does not include such measures. Instead it defines a “strengthening” of the dangerous dogs’ act to include greater penalties for owners who allow their dogs to be uncontrolled in a public place.