Dog owners switching to harness over collar could be hit with big fine

People who walk their pet without an identification tag could even get a six month prison sentence in the worst case scenario

Dog owners switching from a collar to a harness could actually be breaking the law

Dog owners who switch from walking their dogs with a collar to a harness could be breaking the law, without even realising it.

Failure to have your contact details on a dog’s tag when in public is actually against the law and comes with a potentially hefty fine if you’re caught.

And in the worst case scenario pet owners out with their dogs without the proper identification could actually be given a six-month prison term.

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 law says that a dog must wear a collar with the owner’s name and address on it.

Anyone breaching this could be guilty of an offence under the Animal Health Act 1981 which is “punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale”.

Dog owners who are walking their pet without proper identification could be fined


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A level 5 fine was previously capped at a maximum of £5000 – but this changed in March 2015.

A spokesperson for DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) told TeamDogs : “For crimes committed after 13 March 2015, level 5 has been done away with and all criminal penalties expressed as being punishable on summary conviction by a maximum fine of £5,000 or more, or expressed as being a level 5 fine, are now punishable by a fine of any amount (i.e. unlimited).

“That’s as a result of section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

“Therefore, the maximum penalty on summary conviction will be up to six months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.”

However, the fines handed out tend to be a lot lower, of course.

In 2018, a Cocker spaniel who was picked up without a collar on near Sapcote, Leicestershire, earned their owner a fine of £50, with £50 costs and a £30 victim surcharge for admitting the offence.

Owners should be aware that their postcode must also be included on their dog’s ID collar or tag, but the law does not obligate you to include your phone number.

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