Whether you're a new puppy parent or a seasoned dog guardian, understanding the legal requirements of UK dog tag laws and what to include on your dog's tag is crucial to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.
In this blog post, we'll explore the legal obligations for dog identification in the UK as outlined in the Control of Dogs Order 1992. Join us as we delve deeper into this important topic and gain a comprehensive understanding of the requirements. Let's get started!
Dog tag legal requirements UK
In the United Kingdom, according to section 2(1) of the Control of Dogs Order 1992, it is a legal requirement for all dogs to wear a collar when in a highway or public place. This collar must have the name and address of the dog's owner inscribed on it or have this information attached via a plate or badge.
While there are exemptions to this rule, they are typically not applicable to the general public.
Is my dog exempt from UK dog tag law?
It is highly unlikely that your dog will be exempt from the UK’s dog tag law requirements, as exemptions typically apply only to dogs used for specific purposes.
According to the Control of Dogs Order 1992, section 2(1) does not apply to the following:
- any pack of hounds.
- any dog while being used for sporting purposes.
- any dog while being used for the capture or destruction of vermin.
- any dog while being used for the driving or tending of cattle or sheep.
- any dog while being used on official duties by a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces or Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise or the police force for any area.
- any dog while being used in emergency rescue work.
- any dog registered with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
Does my dog need to wear a tag?
Unless exempt, your dog is required to wear a collar with an ID tag that includes your name and address. Alternatively, the collar itself must be inscribed with this information. The most common way is to have an ID tag engraved and securely attached to your dog's collar.
My dog is microchipped, do they need to wear a tag?
Yes, even if your dog is microchipped, it is a legal requirement to wear a collar with the correct information either inscribed or attached to it.
Does the information need to be on a collar?
Section 2(1) of the Control of Dogs Order 1992 explicitly states that:
"Every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it."
Therefore, as per the Control of Dogs Order 1992, it is a requirement that your dog's information be on their collar and not, for instance, on their harness.
What to put on a dog tag UK (2024)
In accordance with UK dog tag law, the name and address of the dog's owner must be on the ID tag as a minimum requirement; any additional information is optional.
While optional, I strongly recommend including your phone number to ensure that someone can quickly contact you if your dog becomes lost and they find them.
If your dog's ID tag is double-sided, you can include more information, such as multiple phone numbers.
Here are the details I recommend including:
- YOUR NAME
- YOUR HOUSE NUMBER + STREET ADDRESS
- YOUR POSTCODE
- YOUR PHONE NUMBER
As an example:
18 ANY STREET
Should I put my dog's name on the tag?
I do not recommend including your dog's name on the ID tag. This precaution is essential because having your dog's name visible could pose a problem if someone steals your dog or attempts to call your dog away from you.
Additionally, it's crucial never to leave your dog unattended in areas with a theft risk, including leaving them alone in your garden.
Keep your dog’s ID tag information up-to-date
It is essential to keep your dog's ID tag information up-to-date to comply with the law and facilitate a speedy reunion if your dog goes missing and someone finds them.
Regularly inspect your dog's ID tag to ensure the information remains legible. Over time, tags can become scratched and worn, making the details harder to read. If the information becomes difficult to read, replace the ID tag with a new one.
Why complying with UK dog tag law is essential
Understanding and complying with UK dog tag law is not just about adhering to legal requirements; it also plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of your dog. Here are a few compelling reasons why it's essential to have your dog wear a proper identification tag:
1. Reunification: If your dog gets lost or escapes, a well-maintained ID tag can expedite reuniting you with your pup. With this tag, it can be easier for someone who finds your dog to contact you promptly.
2. Legal obligation: We must follow the Control of Dogs Order 1992 as responsible dog parents. Failure to do so risks your dog's safety and can lead to legal consequences and potential fines.
3. Emergencies: Quick identification is crucial in emergencies or accidents where your dog might become disoriented or frightened. Your contact information on the dog's tag can be a lifeline, ensuring that medical treatment, if necessary, is administered without delay.
4. Ensuring clarity: Periodically checking your dog's ID tag is vital to ensure the information remains legible. This proactive step ensures that anyone who finds your dog can read the tag easily.
5. Avoiding legal issues: Following dog tag laws helps prevent unnecessary legal troubles. Dog parents can face fines and potential prosecution if their dogs are not compliant.
Considering these reasons, you can better appreciate the significance of abiding by the UK's dog tag law. Not only will you be a responsible dog parent, but you'll also give your dog the best chance at a safe and happy life.
What happens if my dog doesn’t wear a tag?
If your dog is not wearing a collar with the required information as outlined in the Control of Dogs Order 1992, the owner or person in charge of the dog will be guilty of committing an offence against the Animal Health Act 1981, which could result in prosecution.
Furthermore, your dog may be seized and treated as a stray under section 3 of the Dogs Act 1906 or under section 149 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
For further information, please see:
- The Control of Dogs Order 1992
- Animal Health Act 1981
- Dogs Act 1906, Section 3
- Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 149
Taking the time to engrave your dog's tag with accurate and up-to-date information while avoiding using your dog's name can help protect your dog and ensure they remain safe and sound, even in unforeseen circumstances. Remember, compliance with the law is not just an obligation; it's a pledge to safeguard your furry family member.
[ POSTED 25 OCTOBER 2020, REVIEWED 10 JANUARY 2024]