Dogs: Licensing

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st September 2021.

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Photo of Lord Goodlad Lord Goodlad Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to give Local Authorities a legal obligation to enforce the dog licensing regulations.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Local authorities already undertake enforcement action in relation to breaches relating to licensable activity involving dogs, such as sales, breeding and boarding activities, as set out under section 3 of The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (the 2018 Regulations).

These regulations were developed to help improve welfare standards across a range of animal-related activities that are licensed by local authorities. The 2018 Regulations built on previous well-established requirements, many of which have existed for over 50 years including the animal boarding legislation which dates from 1963. Standards of welfare have developed considerably since that time, not least with the passing of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act).

The Government guidance which supports the 2018 Regulations is statutory, and local authorities are required to take it into account. This guidance aims to improve consistency in interpretation and application of the licensing regime across England. A person who carries on any licensed activity without a licence issued under the 2018 Regulations commits an offence under section 13(6) of the 2006 Act and would be liable to imprisonment for a term of up to six months, a fine, or both. Local authorities are provided with broad enforcement powers under the 2006 Act and, under section 30 of the 2006 Act, may prosecute any breach of the legislation.

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