Dog Law and more

There are many laws that can affect dog owners, with over 20 pieces of legislation and with laws changing, we’ve provided some information on just two of those – Collar and Tag and Microchipping with links for further sources of information below.

Collar and Tag

In the UK, the Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that ‘any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner inscribed on the collar, or on a plate or badge attached to the collar’. Your telephone number is optional but recommended (and a clip on tag with the walker’s number if they’re out with a dog walker).

You do not have to put your dog’s name on the tag. Unfortunately, dog theft does occur and it can help if it appears that your dog responds to their name when being sold on to unsuspecting new owners.


From 6th April 2016 all dogs in England and Wales must be microchipped and registered on an approved database.

Sources for more information:

Dog Theft

Information from on preventing dog theft: Missing or stolen dogs, Dorset Police

Preventing Dog Theft

At Home
  • Ensure your garden is secure. Try and break into your own back garden, can you? Gates needs to be bolted top and bottom and with a bolt and padlock at centre height on the inside. Ensure sheds are locked securely so the tools inside cannot be used to break the padlock off your gates.
  • Check fencing regularly, especially after bad weather. Regularly check the boundaries for holes have been made. Keep an eye on your dog when you let it out into the garden.
  • Ideally, have security lighting and CCTV outside your property and a burglar alarm inside. If you cannot afford CCTV, then you can still display signs warning that you do.
  • Do not leave your dog outside overnight or if you leave the property during the day.
  • Be careful of bogus caller. Display a No Cold Callers sticker (available for free at most front desks of Police Stations) on your front door.
  • Do not use the type of sign outside your property that displays your dogs breed, for example, ‘Beware my Poodle lives here’.
  • If you move house or change phone number, update your details with the microchip company.
  • If you leave your dog with a sitter, do your research. Do not simply use the cheapest person/service. If possible, use a trusted family member or friend or ask for recommendations. Double check reviews if necessary.
  • Check for any chalk marks on the pavement or wall outside your house. Email the photos to the police on
Out and About
  • Never leave your dog in your car. Only leave your dog tied up outside shops if someone can wait with it. If this is not possible, leave your dog at home.
  • When out walking, vary your route. If you walk the same route most days, walk the opposite way on occasion. Walk with friends if possible. Avoid walking in the dark by yourself if possible.
  • Do not let your dog off the lead unless you have 100% recall. Invest in a long flexi style lead if necessary. If your dog does have perfect recall, then still keep it in sight at all times.
  • If your dog approaches people, call it back. Some people are scared of dogs so will appreciate this. If people are encouraging your dog over to them, then call it back straight away, especially if they are near a vehicle.
  • Beware of talking to strangers too much about your dog. Do not give its name or give them a false one that sounds very different to your actual dog’s name if you do not want to appear rude.
  • Ensure your mobile is charged and check the mobile phone signal especially if walking in a remote area.
  • Do not display your dog’s name or your address on its ID tag. A current phone number or numbers will suffice.
  • Check your social media privacy settings, Only accept friends that you know and trust. View your profile as public so you can see what anyone can see who may be looking at your page and ensure there are no photos on view of your dog/s. Ensure location is turned off when posting any photos to your private page.
  • If you have a local Facebook group for your village/town then consider joining it. Dog walkers will often warn other dog walkers on these sites if they see suspicious behaviour.
  • Take photos of your dog from every angle, showing coat patterns and any distinguishing features or marks. If your dog is a breed that is very hard to distinguish from other dogs, then take a close-up photo of its teeth. Make sure to include any broken tooth or gaps from missing teeth.