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Unsuspecting dog owners could be hit with unlimited fine they ‘don’t know about’

Dog owners are being warned about a little-known law that could see them slapped with an unlimited fine.

Formby Lost and Found Pets wants to “get the information out there” and urge people to make sure their dogs are properly tagged.

A spokesperson for the group told the Liverpool Echo: "This legislation really needs to get out there.

"So many new dog owners, and existing owners, don't know or just don't realise not only is it the law to microchip your dog, but you also need to have a metal tag on their collar, with owner contact details.

"Please help us share this message, if dogs go missing [and they are microchipped and tagged] they stand a chance of getting home.

"Please also make sure your dogs' microchips are up to date and registered, or they are of no use either."

Tags should include your name and your address – and failing to have any tag, or having a tag without the correct information could land you a hefty fine.

This is particularly important with smaller breeds, as collars tend to put pressure on windpipes and lead to health problems.

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The Control of Dogs Order 1992 law for England, Scotland and Wales states that a dog must wear a collar with an identity tag on it in public places.

There are some exceptions to this, including working dogs but the rule applies to all pets.

People who breach this are considered guilty of an offence against 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 £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.

"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.”

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