Who am I?
My name is Mark Walden, I blog about current dog related issues and until recently, I ran a boarding kennels, cattery and rehoming centre in the wilds of Hampshire. In may though, I became acquainted with Trevor Cooper, the UK's leading specialist in 'Dog Law'. Since then I have assisted Trevor in running his esteemed 'Dog Law' seminars all over the country which have been attended by pet owners, businesses and councils alike. I must say that despite being a seasoned dog owner, I found them to be both fascinating and shocking.
So,what is 'dog law'?
The moment I mention Dog Law to others, I often get a funny response. Some laugh at the thought, some are intrigued, while others look at it as utter nonsense, and I can see why. 'You mean dogs have laws??' To be fair, I thought the same thing the first time I heard of it but the reality is that the laws in the UK surrounding dogs are at this time some of the most relevant and sticky issues in the media. Why should normal dog owners with safe dogs care? Because, as I will explain, these laws affect everyone in society, dog lover or not.
Dog law incorporates many legislations which concern dogs, you've probably heard of the controversial Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and Animal Welfare Act 2006. Most people will have heard about the 'Dangers of Staffies' or animal cruelty but the truth is that animal legislations affect peoples everyday lives in all stratas of society.
My dog is safe, how does this affect me?
Aside from recent developments with compulsory microchipping coming into power for example, the laws do not simply protect people and animals from dog bites and cruelty cases, they cover everything from 'threatening behaviour' to public and private property issues.
The UK is home to over 7 million dogs so even if you aren't a pet owner these laws affect you too, what do you do if a dog growls at you, chases your cat, destroys your property? Dog law is a complex issue which it is sadly easy to fall foul of simply through lack of knowledge and as the media threatens to push the seriousness of convictions everyone should be aware of how it affects them!
So what's to stop you just reading these legislations?
We imagine laws to be black and white, printed on paper and stored in a big leather-bound book but in reality, they can be confusing, badly thought out and misleading - I looked at the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 for the first time and I wont lie – I had absolutely no idea what it meant and left me frankly puzzled.
Sadly, the majority of people who do break these laws are completely unaware of them, particularly when it comes to breed specific legislation. Did you know that your dog can be classified a pit-bull merely because of the way it looks? I am neither qualified nor have time to go into these issues here but if you have any queries or simply want more information on dog law please follow the links I've provided below. The one piece of advice I can give is, if you get into trouble seek the advice of a specialist who thoroughly understands these laws.
What can we do?
In my mind, instead of creating more and more laws and increasing sentences, we should be educating people so that they know what the laws are in the first place! That's what organisations like www.doglaw.co.uk aim to do. On my own blog I aim to talk about current issues and more importantly raise conversation, debate and awareness so that everyone can get informed and get their voice heard. www.markwalden.org
I'd finally like to thank Pooch & Co for giving me the opportunity to blog on their website and helping to get the message out!
Published by Sophie C. on September 20, 2013 in Guest Blogs. Comments: 0
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