Dog owners who use a harness instead of a leash when out walking could be breaking the law if their dog does not wear an identity tag collar.
This is because it is illegal to walk your dog in public without a tag with your information on, and in extreme circumstances it could result in a hefty fine or even imprisonment.
Many owners choose to use a harness over a leash, especially small dog owners, as breeds like Yorkshire terriers can experience health problems with a collar and leash putting pressure on their windpipe.
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But anyone who goes for a walk with his dog without an appropriate identification plate and harness can now be punished with a six-month prison sentence and an unlimited fine.
The 1992 Dog Control Act for Scotland and England states that a dog must wear a collar with the owner’s name and address on it.
Those who break the rules are found guilty of a violation of the Animal Health Act of 1981, which “may be punished in summary proceedings with a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale”.
A level 5 fine was previously limited to a maximum of £ 5,000 but this was changed in March 2015.
A spokesman for DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) told TeamDogs: “For crimes that are 5,000 or more after the 13th, or as a penalty of level 5, are now punished with a fine of any amount (ie unlimited ) fined.
“This is the result of Section 85 of the Legal Assistance, Conviction and Punishment of Offenders Act of 2012.
“Therefore, the maximum penalty for a summary conviction is up to six months’ imprisonment and / or an unlimited fine.”
However, dog owners who violate this law are usually subject to significantly lower fines.
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In 2018, a collarless cocker spaniel picked up near Sapcote in southwest Leicestershire earned its owner a £ 50 fine, with an additional £ 50 cost and a £ 30 victim surcharge for admitting the crime.
Owners should also be aware that their zip code must be on their dog’s collar or tag, but the law does not require you to provide your phone number.
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