Dog owners warned switching to walking harness could land them with £5,000 fine

The warning comes as more and more dog owners opt for a harness over a collar for their four-legged friends when they go out. However, unbeknown to many pet parents, it is actually a legal requirement for every dog to wear a harness or collar with a tag attached with the owner’s contact details.

This is outlined in The Control of Dogs Order 1992 law and failure to do so can result in a fine up to £5,000 or a six-month jail sentence.

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”.

A level 5 fine was previously capped at a maximum of £5,000 – but this was changed in March 2015.

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

One Cocker Spaniel owner was found guilty of breaking this law when his canine was spotted without any identification near Sapcote, Leicestershire, back in 2018.

After admitting to the offence, the owner was given a fine of £50, with £50 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

All ID dog tags must also include the person’s postcode, but the law does not obligate you to include your phone number.

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