Owner’s duty of care
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 introduced tougher penalties for neglect and cruelty, including fines of up to £20,000, a maximum jail term of 51 weeks and a lifetime ban on some owners keeping pets.
Under the act, five freedoms have to be given to pets in order to comply with the law:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst – provide fresh, clean water and the right amount of food to keep the animal fit and healthy.
- Freedom from discomfort – animals should be protected from extreme weather conditions such as hot or cold temperatures, wind, rain and humidity. A suitable, clean, dry resting area should be available to animals at all times.
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease – animals should be inspected regularly to make sure they are well. Any that appear to be ill, diseased or injured must be cared for without delay. If they do not respond to that care, professional advice must be sought without delay.
- Freedom to behave normally – make sure the animals have enough space and proper facilities to display normal behaviour, including regular interaction with other animals, where appropriate.
- Freedom from fear and distress – make sure the conditions the animal lives and plays in and the treatment the animal receives avoids mental suffering.
Docking tails, cropping ears, taking part in a dog fight or training a dog to fight are banned.
If you are concerned for the welfare of a dog, you can contact Animal Welfare Service. We will endeavour to visit the address, assess the situation and act accordingly:
Alternatively, you can contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.