Welfare of dogs: code of practice

Best practice guidance to help those responsible for dogs meet the duty of care under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

Appendix 1: the law

The law, as quoted, is that in force on the date of publication or reprinting of the Code and, as amendments have been made to the law since then, the current legislation should be referred to and reviewed.

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

The following sections of the Act are referred to in the Code and are set out here for ease of reference:

Unshaded boxes contain quotes from the legislation.

The box shaded in green summarises the relevant offences and penalties of the Act.

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006

Other legislation affecting dogs

As well as the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 there are a number of other laws that affect the way you keep your dog. The ones most likely to affect the owner or keeper of a pet dog are summarised below.

Breeding and Purchase

The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 provide that anyone who is in the business of breeding and selling dogs needs to be licensed.
The aim of the Acts is to control 'puppy farming' where dogs are bred in poor conditions. If you think the person from whom you are buying a puppy may be breeding dogs on a large scale and not just as a hobby you should ask to see their licence or ask the local Council if they have one.
If dogs are being sold commercially, such as in a pet shop, the seller also has to have a licence under the Pet Animals Act 1951.

Controlling your dog

Although the dog licence was abolished in 1987, it is still a legal requirement under the Control of Dogs Order 1992 for a dog to wear a collar with the owner's name and address on it. Two other pieces of legislation, the Dogs Act 1871 and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, require you to have proper control of your dog. The penalties if you do not have proper control of your dog include a fine, imprisonment and the possible compulsory destruction of the dog. The Dangerous Dogs Act also makes it illegal to own or keep (unless specifically exempted), sell or give away a dog of four types that have been traditionally bred for fighting: Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

The Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003 makes it an offence for the person in charge of a dog to fail to pick up and dispose of any faeces.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 states that a stray dog handed to the local authority that is not identified and re-claimed within seven days may be sent to a re-homing agency or destroyed.

The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 [Section 49] makes it an offence for any person who suffers or permits any creature in their charge to cause danger or injury to any other person who is in a public place or to give such person reasonable cause for alarm or annoyance.

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 a dog owner commits an offence if their dog worries (attacks or chases) livestock on agricultural land. In the case of a field or enclosure where there are sheep, dogs must be on a lead, or otherwise under close control.

The Animals Act 1971 creates liability (subject to certain defences) for damage done by dogs to livestock or other forms of damage done by an unrestrained dog under certain circumstances.

The Guard Dogs Act 1975 imposes certain requirements on those responsible for guard dogs including the need to keep them under control or secured at all times and for a warning notice to be displayed at all entrances to the guarded premises.

Your dog during holidays

If you are away from home and need to put your dog in kennels, you should check that the kennel has been licensed by the local authority under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963. The Act can also apply to people taking dogs into their homes if they do so for reward (usually referred to as 'home boarding').

If you wish to take your dog with you on a holiday abroad, other than to the Republic of Ireland, there are very strict rules about what treatment your dog will need before it can return to the UK. It takes a minimum of seven months to comply with the rules so you need to plan well ahead. You should ask your vet about the details of what you have to do or look at the Scottish Government website on the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) page (see Appendix 2).

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