July 24th, 2017
April was National Pet Month – a chance to celebrate life with pets.
Most pet owners will do anything for their pets, whatever the time of year. Some even leave millions behind for their animal friends.
Sadly, other pet owners fail to meet even the basic needs of their pets required by law.
Three ways owning a pet could bring you into contact with the law
1. Leaving a gift for your pet in your will
You can leave something for your pet in your will. You may also want to leave money for the person who will look after your pet when you’re not around. A will writer could help you with this.
2. Pet pre-nup
You can get a pet pre-nup. A pet pre-nup (or ‘pet-nup’) legally documents who will have your pet if you and your partner split up. A family lawyer could help you write a pet-nup.
3. Breaking the law
From micro-chipping to buying a pet, there are many laws that apply to pets and pet owners. For example, as a dog owner, you need to make sure your dog is under control. If your dog bites and injures someone, you could be fined and sent to prison for up to six months.
If you want legal advice about your pet, see our types of lawyers section.
You can also find out about the court process, if you need to go to court.
Over to you!
We want to hear from you. Have you ever had a run-in with the law because of your pet? Did you get legal advice? Share your experiences by leaving a comment.
April 19th, 2016
From trips to the vet to micro-chipping, being a good pet owner means knowing the law.
They say dogs are man’s best friend, and losing a much-loved pet can be devastating. Micro-chipping offers the best chance of a missing animal’s safe return.
More than 86% of UK dog owners have already micro-chipped their pets. But, on 6 April this year, micro-chipping dogs became compulsory. Any dog over the age of eight weeks must be micro-chipped and registered on a national database.
If a local authority finds a dog without a microchip, it can order the owner to microchip their dog within 21 days, or face a fine of £500.
Buying a pet
Pet ownership often starts with buying your pet, and by law you must be at least 16 years old to buy an animal. Adults are legally responsible for the welfare of their children’s pets.
When you buy a pet from a shop, the law protects you as a consumer. That means that if your pet gets sick or dies shortly after you buy it, the pet shop may give you a refund or replace your pet.
If you buy an animal from a private seller, you have fewer rights. For more about your rights, visit Citizens Advice’s website.
Caring for animals
The Animal Welfare Act is now 10 years old. It states that owners must take all reasonable steps to:
- meet their pets’ needs
- give them enough food and water
- house them properly, and
- protect them from pain, suffering, injury and disease
People who don’t look after their animals can be banned from owning them, fined up to £20,000, or even be sent to prison.
Going to the vet
Trips to the vets are part and parcel of owning a pet, and the law protects you and your animals while you’re there.
If the treatment a vet gives doesn’t meet a reasonable standard of care and injures your pet, you can complain or take legal action.
You should get legal advice early on. Citizens Advice can help. In some cases, it makes sense to talk to a lawyer.
Article categories: Animal