Please be aware that it is the law that your dog wears an identity tag which includes your full address and your name and your telephone number. It is best not to have your dog's name on his tag in case he is stolen! If you are not compliant with this law and your dog is found by someone else you will be liable to pay a fine up to £5000.00. This applies even if your dog is micro-chipped.
The fouling of land act 1996
You must ensure that you clean up after your dog. Failure to do so can result in a fixed penalty fine or a fine of up to £1000.00 in the courts. In addition to the above act The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 also includes powers to deal with dog fouling. The powers are essentially the same however the level of fixed penalty and fine are greater. This act also allows local councils to implement dog control orders which includes powers to ban dogs from certain areas or to require dogs to be on a lead. So, if you want to be able to continue to exercise your dog in the locality of your choice.... PLEASE CLEAN UP AFTER THEM. Faliure to do so could result in the area being banned to all dogs.
A dog is considered as "dangerously out of control" under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 if it injures someone or there are grounds for suspecting it might injure someone regardless of whether or not it atually does so. If no injury is caused the maximum sentence is a fine of £2,000.00 and/or six months imprisonment. Where actual injury is caused the maximum sentence is two years imprisonment and/or unlimited fine. The court can specifiy particular forms of restriction such as muzzling and leashing. Please be aware that this act applies even if your dog is not aggressive, if it causes injury through jumping up, for example, you may face prosecution under this act which may leave you with a criminal record.
Please be aware that if you have been told you will have to attend court about an out of control/dangerous dog then it is advisable to see a reputable behaviourist prior to attending court as they will be able to assess your dog and provide a report to the court following behaviour modification which may help your case in court. However, there may be some dogs which are too dangerous, which have untreatable medical conditions causing the dangerous behaviour, or dogs which may not respond to behaviour modification, or the extent of damage inflicted makes safe behaviour modification too risky . Therefore, in these cases destruction of the dog however distressing this may be may be advisable.
Dog Warden/Animal Welfare Officer
Your local Animal Welfare Officer for East Dorset is Michelle Jones 01202 886201. Michelle has advised me that although recently there was an attempt to ban dogs from open spaces in Hamworthy the East Dorset District Council has no plans to do this. However, be aware that in Dublin a list of 11 breeds of dog have been banned from all council property (including council homes). This is resulting in many dogs being re-homed or destroyed because no home can be found.