Dog owners risk £5k fine or jail for using harness instead of collar on walks

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A dog must wear a collar with its owner’s name and address on it (Photo: Shutterstock)

Dog owners who walk their pooch wearing a harness instead of a collar could face a hefty fine or even jail time.

The severe punishment could be enforced as it is against the law if you don’t put your name and address on your dog tag in public.

The law also applies when owners switch from a collar to a harness to protect their dog’s health.

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Some puppies, especially small breeds, may suffer from a collar that presses against their windpipe, making it safer to wear a harness.

However, dogs must still wear a collar with a label with details of their owner.

What are the rules

The England and Scotland Dog Control Act 1992 states that a dog must wear a collar with its owner’s name and address on it.

The label must include a zip code, but it is not mandatory to include a phone number. Owners who do not obey the rules are violating the Animal Health Act of 1981, which used to be fined “Level 5” ”.

A level 5 fine was previously capped at £ 5,000 but was later changed to an unlimited amount in 2015.

As of March 13, 2015, all criminal penalties under the Act are now “punishable by a summary conviction of a maximum fine of £ 5,000 or more, or any fine expressed as a Level 5 fine” to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The change means that owners who break the law can now face an unlimited fine and / or imprisonment for up to six months.

However, the fines for breaking the rules are likely to be much lower.

In 2018 the owner of a collarless cocker spaniel picked up near Sapcote in the East Midlands was fined £ 50 plus £ 50 costs and a £ 30 victim surcharge for admitting to the crime.

Fines for failing to microchip dogs

Since 2016, it has been a legal requirement for dog owners to microchip their pets.

All dogs over eight weeks old must have a chip that is registered in a DEFRA-approved database.

Owners who fail to meet this requirement could be fined up to £ 500.

This fine also applies if the owner’s details, including an address or phone number, change but are not updated in the database.

This article originally appeared on our sister site NationalWorld.