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Friday, February 23, 2018

Dog owners: Abide by dog laws or face the consequences

Dog owners are being warned by West Lancashire Borough Council they must comply with dog laws after two owners were prosecuted in separate cases at Wigan Magistrates Court.

Martin McMullen was fined £500 as his dog didn't have an identity disc while out in public, and fined a further £200 as although the dog was microchipped there were no contact details on the national database system. He was also ordered to pay £397.18 costs and an £80 victim surcharge, making a total of £1177.18.

The court heard that Mr McMullen's French Bulldog was found straying near the Hare and Hounds Public House in Skelmersdale and handed over to Council staff.   The necessary advice relating to microchipping and identity laws was given at the time the dog was collected following which Mr McMullen, of Colinton, Skelmersdale, was served a legal notice giving him 21 days to update these details and provide proof it had been done. When the notice was not complied with, the Council started legal proceedings.

Dog owners can face an unlimited fine if their dog is not wearing an identity disc in public. If they have more than one dog in public without identity discs they can face separate fines for each dog.

It is also a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped and the owner’s contact details kept up to date. Anyone failing to meet these requirements can be served with a 21-day legal notice ordering them to get their dog chipped. Failure to comply can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £500 per dog. Dogs with microchips where the owner has failed to keep their contact details up to date will be deemed not to be microchipped.

In another case Graham Jones, of Glebe End, Sefton Village, Merseyside, was fined £145, ordered to pay £200 costs and a £30 victim surcharge because his dog was not microchipped, a total of £375.

The court heard that Mr Jones' Patterdale terrier-type dog was handed into a vets in Aughton as a stray and referred to the Council.

When Mr Jones collected the dog he declined to have his dog microchipped, and subsequently failed to comply with the legal notice.

Mr Jones attended court and pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the legal notice.

Councillor Kevin Wright, portfolio holder for Community Safety, said: “The Council aims to take firm action against all those who fail to comply with dog-related laws.  These cases prove dog owners must act responsibly and comply with legislation regarding their pets or they could be prosecuted and face a fine.”

Find out more about responsible dog ownership at dogs.

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