It would be easy to write about Christmas this month. Tell you not to feed your dog chocolate or mince pies and keep them away from that toxic mistletoe and poinsettia. However, there will be many repeating this important but well-worn message. However, during late 2014 some new powers and laws applying to dogs and their owners have been introduced or extended with some hard hitting consequences for dogs and owners which I thought would be important to discuss regardless of the season.
Control – It is now against the law for your dog to be out of control not only in a public place but also in a private place and your own home. This can mean some of the consequences I will explain later can apply if something happens not only when you are out walking your dog but also if someone is delivering to your house or visiting as a sales person or a guest.
What is out of control? – A dog could be deemed out of control if it does actually injure someone or someone else’s dog. Makes sense. However, a dog could also be deemed out of control if it behaves in a way that could reasonably lead someone to think that it could injure them or their pet!
Consequences – Police or local authorities can now insist that owners take preventative action to avoid an attack or what is deemed as out of control behaviour perceived or actual. If you fail to do so they now have a number of powers ranging from dog control orders, to fines of up to £20,000 and in extreme cases to prosecution and jail terms.
This is not to say that the police or local authorities are not using powers sensibly and in a measured way and depending on risk and severity of behaviour request owners do other constructive things as part of control orders to ensure harmony between pet owners and non-pet owners, like attending training classes; muzzling and putting a dog on a lead in a public place; having a dog castrated or fixing fences or boundaries that have allowed the pet out of the owners control.
If the worst happens though in those serious cases, extended jail sentences can now be enforced with up to 14yrs for a fatal dog attack, 5yrs for an injury and even 3yrs for an injury of an assistance dog.
We at Calagran Four Paws Hotel opened for residents staying with us a new two acre secure off leash paddock. However, on request we now also open these to the public to hire for individuals or groups to use and feel secure that their pet is safe at play with no incidents or misunderstandings. If anyone is interested in the facility or to know more about the new laws they can contact us.
Enough seriousness now, so may we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Be safe!