If you’re a dog owner who switches from a collar to a harness when out on a walk you could be risking a massive fine, and even jail time.
This is because of a lesser known law which dictates that you must display your name and address on your dog’s collar tag when out in public.
Failure to do this is breaking the law and punishable by a big fine or even jail time.
Some owners choose to use harnesses instead of collar leads when walking their dogs – particularly small dogs who are more fragile.
Collar leads can compress the windpipe and cause health problems for dogs of this size.
But despite the good reasons behind it owners who removed their dogs collar on a walk could get a maximum penalty of six months in prison.
The Control of Dogs Order 1992 law for Scotland and England states a dog must wear a collar with the owner’s name and address on it when out in public.
Breaking this law means you’re guilty of an offence against the Animal Health Act 1981 which can be “punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale”.
A level 5 fine was previously capped at £5,000 but this changed in 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 imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.”
However the fine handed out is actually likely to be lower than this in practice.
In 2018 a Cocker spaniel picked up without a collar near Sapcote East Midlands cost their owner a total of £130, with a £50 fine, £50 costs, and a £30 victim surcharge for admitting the offence.
Owners must include their address and postcode on the tag but a phone number is not required by law.
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