Should the UK reintroduce compulsory dog licences? (Poll)

It’s a subject I often hear on social media and articles online. The dog licence is a debate that constantly reignites on a daily basis among dog lovers and professionals. A system that requires the owner to prove that he/she is a fit individual to be able to keep a dog.

On my blog post – Dog Attacks and the Media Causing Hysteria I mention that groups such as the RSPCA mention that there is a ‘animal welfare crisis‘ in the UK. More and more irresponsible owners are unaware of the basic responsibilities of owning a dog which causes neglect and abuse. There is obviously a public need for action and one that keeps coming up is the idea of a dog licence.

History

A little bit of history! For those who don’t remember, the UK had the dog licence until 1987.

A typical dog licence poster before 1987
A typical dog licence poster before 1987

It was abolished after the government believed that the impact of a dog licence was very little and at the time. Estimates suggested that less than 50% of owners had a dog licence. However in Northern Ireland they still adopt the dog licence, unfortunately there are estimates that only a third of dog owners currently licence their dogs. (Source – Dogs Trust)

So for me, it’s obvious that it was a broken system that didn’t work. It was a potentially good idea that wasn’t enforced thoroughly enough and as a result, was almost ineffective. There are many ways of enforcing it, but when there are government cuts everywhere you go, how realistic is it going to be? There are many welfare regulations currently in the UK that are ineffective and due to lack of man-power and funding.

Enforcement

For example, the Control of Dogs Order 1992 states that every dog must wear a collar and tag – how many dogs do you see in public without one these days? I see them on a daily basis and the majority of owners are completely unaware of it, being microchipped does not count as collar and tag and those owners risk being fined £5000 if caught. But lets be honest, who has been fined £5000 for not having their dogs collar and tagged by their local council in recent years? I would be very surprised if that figure was over 5. I have spoken to many councils who just have the lack of resources and manpower to enforce it.

So, demanding regulations and legislations are one thing but it’s  another thing entirely to identify your available resources to make them enforceable. These days where government funding is being squeezed left, right and centre – it’s going to be incredibly difficult.

So, for those who are undecided I’ll use, arguably, two of the biggest dog welfare charities that have two different views on the matter. For and Against. I think that peoples views on either charity shouldn’t influence their opinion on the matter of dog licencing.

For – RSPCA RSPCA_logo_FB_OGP

It was suggested recently by James Yeates, the head vet of the RSPCA that all dog owners should be forced into obtaining dog licences. This idea received just as much praise and as well as criticism from all industries.

He said;

“If you are talking about registration, there are a number of potential advantages. Traceability and accountability are two things that could be solved and if you put certain conditions in place for pet ownership, you could ensure competence or training, or capacity.You could use some of the money … for buying a licence to offset harm to animals − either part of the licence would have third-party insurance or some of the funds from that could be used elsewhere. It would also make it clear that pet ownership is a privilege and a responsibility.”

(The Telegraph 29th December 2013)

In a report by The Independent, a study by the RSPCA said that an annual fee of just £21.50 could raise £107.4 million in resources to improve dog welfare, if half the owners of the UK’s 10 million dogs complied. The money could also go into enforcing dangerous dog control regulations in local areas.

The RSPCA also said that two thirds of British dog owners were in favour of a licence scheme, with 70% of those supporting the move happy to pay more than £30 for owning a dog. (The Independent 1st September 2010)

Against – Dogs Trust dogs-trust

Dogs Trust has adopted the view that dog licencing will not solve this issue at hand and firmly believes that the best way in tackling this is through local action with the use of dog control orders and good public education. They used the examples of the impact it made before 1987 which was statistically poor and did very little to improve animal welfare generally.

They mention that;

“The licensing regime was essentially a tax on dog ownership, it did not encourage a more responsible attitude towards dog ownership in the long term, nor did it protect in any way the welfare of dogs in the short term.”

Despite their views against dog licencing, Dogs Trust were in the frontline of campaigning for compulsory microchipping which will be coming into force on the 6th of April 2016. They feel like this would significantly impact on Local Authorities in terms of dog welfare and a much more cost-effective and realistic approach.

Read their full statement on their website here.

Poll – You vote and decide!

 

So what do you think? Do you agree with the RSPCA and think that it will make a impact on dog welfare across the UK and put more funding into enforcement?

Or do you agree with Dogs Trust and believe that there are more efficient ways of improving dog welfare other than putting a ‘tax’ on dog ownership?

I’d love to know your thoughts, feel free to submit a comment below!

61 thoughts on “Should the UK reintroduce compulsory dog licences? (Poll)

  1. We should licence dog breeders, they are the ones making a profit. It might also make them accountable for finding suitable homes for their puppies. Matching personality with lifestyle us essential for creating good dog ownership. It should start with the breeders.

    1. It’s a suggestion I’ve had before and a very good one Sarah! I’ve met a lot of breeders that do those checks which is slightly reassuring, and of course if they do breed a certain amount of litters per year they need to be licenced anyway. Saying that, there is a lot of improvements to be made and that is certainly one solution to many I’ve heard.

    2. Oh my! That is a rather sweeping statement. I will try to put you right. Volume breeders are licenced. Myself? I breed whenever I want a puppy to show in the showring. That hasn’t been for 5 years now. I do all the health checks on my dogs and not one puppy leaves here without being microchipped. Just before christmas I had an eight year old girl come back to me. It is part of the contract that goes with each puppy that ‘If for any reason the new owners cannot keep the dog, then it must come back to me’. As for making a profit, I very much don’t think so. All health tests cost big money and then there is the feeding of the best food for the pups and mother. I do not advertise my pups, it is word of mouth and I have 3 people waiting for another one of my puppies. These people are willing to wait until there is a litter. I could go on and on, but hopefully, I have answered some of your statement.

    3. Dog ‘breeders’ already should pay a licence fee, how do you get the byb’s to pay that, that is the problem, reaching offenders not the responsible breeder who health tests and tries to reach an outstanding level of care

  2. Will it make a difference to those dogs who already are walked without identification on? To the dogs who are not under control of their owners? Would it make a difference to the amount of deposits on the footpaths verges and play areas not picked up? Sadly at this time I would have to answer no as the responsible owners already abide by the rules and those are the only ones who would get a licence, enforce all the above, actively prosecute lawbreakers then maybe yes.

    1. I would have to agree with what you said, Sue. I’m rather sceptical myself. It would cost a vast sum of money to regulate vets for licencing, regulate the registration system, regulate breeders and rescues (including small, independent ones). As I would love all of those to be regulated and enforceable, I don’t think it’s very realistic in this current economic climate. Time will tell though!

  3. It’s a nicely balanced article, and it opens the door for a lot of discussion of the points raised, both For and Against. You know my feelings, Mark – I genuinely don’t think a dog licence will turn people into responsible owners overnight, and I don’t think there will be appreciable benefits for dog welfare. The only people who would buy the licences are the caring owners – why should they be taxed further just to prove that they are good owners? It’s unfair, and I do not support it. The other thing that concerns me is this idea of “traceability and accountability”. The very people who need to be monitored are those least likely, in my opinion, to buy a licence. And who would have access to the data? Would our privacy and personal security be safeguarded in any way? (By the way, I remember the old dog licences when they were 7/6 – that’s seven shillings and sixpence!) :o)

    1. Absolutely Bev, I always approach this issue with caution. In principle, I think we all agree that improvements should be made and as I mentioned on my last article, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a single solution to this problem? Sadly, I fear that it’s only going to be a tax on dog ownership if it wont be enforced efficiently.

  4. Yes it needs reintroducing only if every penny goes back towards the welfare of dogs and not become a deceptive stealth tax!… May also make people a tad more responsible if they knew that they were accountable for maintaining the license!..

    1. Very good point, I’m sure the licence would be effective if we knew the money would go back into welfare and enforcing. Somehow I doubt that though.

  5. Compulsory test on dog welfare and a licence would be they way forward. Give people the knowledge before giving them a dog!

    1. Glad to know that compulsory microchipping is coming in force on the 6th of April 2016 (Wales a year earlier) – It’ll be interesting to see who complies with the legislation and how effective it is!

      1. The Welsh Government have postponed their March 1st introduction of Compulsory Microchipping, as the draft regulations have been withdrawn to ensure they are “fit for purpose” before they come into force.

        All the scanning issues need to be addressed. The new microchipping regulations don’t go far enough and have only been put into place to save money on stray dogs. Nothing is mentioned about the need to scan microchips to help find missing/stolen dogs. We have to rely on a ‘Duty of Care’ which doesn’t work now!

        It’s no good giving all dogs microchips if all vets, agencies and other establishments do not scan for microchips as standard procedure every and any time an animal is dealt with whether dead or alive.

      2. What is the point of compulsory microchipping if a microchip is not proof of ownership???? Too many dog owners are having to go to the small claims court to try and recuperate their dog that has been found or stolen and kept by the thief/finder. It has been compulsory by law for more years than I can remember that a dog MUST wear a collar and tag with owners details. It has never been policed and no one has ever been warned or prosecuted because their dogs isn’t wearing collar with ID tag.
        A microchip is not proof of ownership.!!!

  6. Compulsory microchipping won’t make much difference unless there is compulsory scanning to go alongside it. The whole problem is that none of the measures suggested do anything to tackle the irresponsible owners who won’t comply with any new legislation that won’t be enforced any way due to lack of funds/manpower. The owners who will willing buy a licence will be the same people who already have their dogs chipped,wearing id and neutered. The same people who view their dogs as part of the family and not breeding machines to make a fast buck. The supply of dogs has to be drastically reduced by changing the government’s attitude towards “hobby breeders” for a start. Quite how to stop people from having dogs when they really shouldn’t be in charge of the care of a pet rock is another problem – more life time bans in cruelty cases?

  7. My view is that we need to go back to basics and work on why there is now an ‘animal welfare crisis‘ in the UK. To my mind this boils down to a number of issues – people are able to get dogs as impulse buys because they are seen for sale everywhere and conversely the same people are able to dump their impulse buy just as easily without any fear of prosecution despite animal abandonment being against the law. Dogs have gone from being pets to being seen as fashion accessories and it is this attitude that needs to be changed. We have to target the dog owners of the future if there is going to be any improvement in dog and animal welfare as a whole. All too often we see dogs being sold on or dumped because they were totally unsuited to the lifestyle of the owner who hadn’t done any research into the breed they were getting.

    Would cutting the supply of dogs available mean an increase in the cost of buying one? would this lead to a drop in the demand? and how do we achieve this when very few local authorities have the manpower or funds to have their own dog wardens to monitor what is happening locally? The lampposts signs regarding dog fouling are a prime example of local laws not being enforced – how many fines are issued every year?

    According to DEFRA: “any person who keeps a breeding establishment for dogs at any premises and carries on at those premises a business of breeding dogs for sale must obtain a licence from the local authority”

    According to HMRC: “You will be presumed to be carrying on a dog breeding business if, during any 12-month period, five or more litters of puppies are born to bitches which you keep on your premises (or elsewhere)” Anyone who falls into the above category should have their business registered with HMRC, keep accounts and pay tax on their income.

    How many actually do this?

    As I see it the main obstacle is still going to be getting the message “out there” – dog people already know what problems are being faced every day, its getting the ones with the power to tackle the issue properly that is the real stumbling block.

    “I do not agree that the answer lies in introducing more regulations to control breeding, advertising and selling of animals. Such a process would be extremely lengthy, bureaucratic and would not get to the root of the matter.” – DEFRA March 2013

    “We therefore have no plans to introduce specific legislation to prohibit the breeding of cats and dogs, as we believe that this would be a disproportionate response to the current problems” – DEFRA March 2013

    We can only hope that “The work we have been doing with the Home Office to ensure that their proposed new measures to tackle anti-social behaviour will include measures to deal with instances where such behaviour includes a dog. This will enable the authorities to intervene in such cases at an early stage and help prevent situations becoming more serious” will make a difference

  8. I ticked “other” as I’m in favour of a dog licensing scheme but not as it was. It would cost money to implement so there would need to be a licence fee as well obviously but the main thing I would like to see is a test for any potential dog owner to see if they are fit to have a dog in in their lives. So many people seem to like the idea of having a dog or a puppy but don’t think about what it actually involves and that dogs can live up to 15 years or longer. They don’t seem to realise that dogs have needs and that puppies grow up. Something like a “driving licence” for dogs may work. A simple licence fee on its own wouldn’t work any better now than it did before 1987

  9. The DDA didn’t work and led to more dogs becoming trophies for the underclass. I think bringing in a licence will see a lot more dumped into rescues because dog owners already feel over regulated. Microchipping is going to become compulsory, yet there is no compulsion to scan and a chip, apparently, is not proof of ownership, so what use will a licence actually be.? Apart from that it’s going to hit pensioners and low income families who have one or two dogs, especially if you add that to vet fees, insurance and everything else.

    1. Very good point! I’m sure why a lot of dog charities feel this way about the licence, there is always going to be a worry that a re-homing process will be too complicated that will delay dogs getting re-homed and put off a lot of potential owners.

  10. I believe a dog licence would be the right thing. People would stop buying dogs just for fun or as presents for other people. It makes people be more responsible. In Switzerland they already have it. In Austria only for certain breeds.. Another very important point would be the regulations on breeding. There should be a stop on breeding staffordshire and pit bull terriers. Not because they are dangerous but because there are too many of them in the shelters. Certain shelters get up to 50 a week. :-((
    Thank you for caring!
    Best regards, Katharina

    1. That’s very interesting Katharina, I didn’t realise that Australia only had it for a few breeds, do you know what they are? I wonder why they only licence certain breeds and not others?

      Yeah absolutely, I find that in most shelters, quite often as much as 90% of the dogs there were Staffordshire Bull Terriers or Pit Bulls. Very concerning indeed!

    2. In Switzerland you are not allowed to buy/adopt/own a dog unless you have taken and passed the compulsory exams, theory and/or practical which would prove you are capable of looking after a dog. That includes breeders, farmers, police dog handlers etc. Having lived in Switzerland for over 40 years I know their dog laws more or less by heart. (I worked in the biggest animal shelter/pound in the district of Vaud (Refuge Ste.Catherine at Chalet a Gobet), just outside of Lausanne. But there are still people there who don’t pay the dog tax (not licence) and if caught there is a very heavy find. By bringing in a dog licence you would be punishing the responsible dog owners by giving them extra expense which would hit the elderly community where dogs are often the only companion and joy they have and would rather not eat than see their beloved friend lack food.
      As for dog breeds, the Pit bull and all its crosses have been banned since 1991 and people are still breeding and selling them. If they go into a shelter they are put to sleep and not rehomed. Where is the reinforcement of that law????

      1. p.s. I’ve worked for over 50 years in shelters, my first job being at the Battersea dogs Home when I was 17. Since then in shelters all over the world. Also worked as qualified vet nurse in shelters and private practice. I bred Border collies but stopped when I came to the UK when I saw how many dogs were in rescue, dumped and put to sleep for lack of homes. I’ve shown, worked (sheep work, I had my own flocks). Sheep dog trials, Search and Rescue, Obedience, agility, working trials, now flyball. I still rescue/rehome BCs and working sheep dogs and distribute for various lost/found/stolen dogs organisations and dog wardens/pounds etc. The problem has always existed but there was no media to publicise it or even take an interest in it. Information should be given out on television pet programs where the people who need the information and advice will see it.

  11. I vote other. Being the breeder and/or guardian of a dog is a responsibility and privilege but we have a major epidemic in this country and we need to crack down hard and fast. Money and investment now will not only save an unimaginable amount of abuse and cruelty happening but also the never-ending financial costs should things continue as they are. I would like a temporary breeding ban of 3 years. In the ‘ban’ period, we would enforce a national spay/neuter/chip/DNA and establish the ‘rules’… First, breeders must undergo a stringent process in order to be licensed to breed dogs. The breeders license would be on a yearly basis and failure to comply with rules of license would mean license revoked, and possibly penalties applied. All puppies from that breeder must be chipped, DNAd and registered with breeders details, which would stay on the dogs permanent record stored on a central Dog Database. The new guardian’s details would then be added to the dog’s record. The breeder then has some lifelong responsibility, which may ensure breeders either A) stop breeding due to shared responsibility for the life of the dog, or B) only sell puppies to thoroughly vetted and trustworthy people with the onus on a shared responsibility for the life of that dog. Should it be proved that the breeder is selling dogs to people who do not follow the contracts as laid out in the breeders licence, the breeder will risk loss of licence. The new guardian of a dog will have several requirements, under law, and failure will result in heavy penalties. The dog must be insured; a percentage of the insurance companies’ yearly profit must be surrendered to the Rescue Program. The dog must be registered with a vet and MUST have 6 monthly/yearly ‘MOTs’. Spay/neuter will be required by law. The performing vet MUST scan doggy on all visits and enter all visits (and details) on the dog’s permanent record. The Dog Database will flag any non-compliance and penalties will be issued on an increasing scale. Due to the vet entering direct to the central database, it will also be possible to flag if dogs from a certain breeder are genetically predisposed to illness and measures can be taken up directly with the breeder. Should the dog need to be rehomed, it must go via the breeder, the breeder already having to have shown ability and plan for this at each application for license. The breeder will have to agree to new contract with any new guardian with same rules applying. Only dogs who cannot be returned to the breeder would end up in rescue. Penalties will be applicable should no valid reason be established for relinquishing a dog to rescue. The dog in rescue would be a ward of court and he would be protected under law. The money from penalties would help fund the Rescue Program. We would have a national foster/adoption plan for these dogs. The dogs death, and reason for it, would also be recorded on the Dog Database for various data collection and termination of breeder/guardian/insurer/vet contract. If a dog is stolen, it must be reported and a crime number will be issued. The dog would be registered just as a missing person would be and his details will be available on the public interface of the Dog Database. I would increase pay and enforcement powers for dog wardens to be that of police level. As an animal lover and dog guardian I would not have a problem with any of this and none of it is impossible. If the DVLA can do this for cars, we can do it for dogs.

    1. Very good comments you’ve raised Amber, thanks! A number of people have suggested that the dog licence should be one similar to car registrations and MOT systems. I’m sure if that was put into place it will be extremely effective in tackling the welfare problem we now face in the UK.

    2. In your dreams!!! The best way to stop it all would be to oblige every person who breeds a litter be obliged by law, to give the puppies/dog away and not to be able to charge anything for them. Breeding would become almost extinct except for accidental matings.
      I would certainly NOT make it compulsory for all dogs to be neutered/spayed as this has many health disadvantages and the animals health IMO comes first and foremost when owning a dog.
      Breeders already pay for a license from the councils and are checked on a yearly basis, but as we know, often breeders, even Kennel Club accredited breeders should never be given a licence as premises and practices are totally unsuitable.
      Stolen dogs are already given a crime number when the owner reports it to the police. Etc.
      And with the millions of dogs owned in the UK, just who is going to do all this work and police the laws???
      To make it compulsory to neuter and spay all dogs is obviously the wish of someone who know little about dog/bitch health/genetics etc.
      If someone can’t keep control of a bitch when in season, they shouldn’t own one.

      1. “every person who breeds a litter be obliged by law, to give the puppies/dog away and not to be able to charge anything for them” – you mean, as in ‘Free To A Good Home, a la Gumtree? I despair :-/
        “neuter and spay all dogs is obviously the wish of someone who know little about dog/bitch health/genetics” Would I be right in guessing you are a breeder? I’m actually more concerned about the hideous amount of dogs that are routinely destroyed, please forgive my pipe dream of wanting that to end. Alas, not everyone is a responsible ‘bitch-in-season’ guardian.

  12. I like the idea that buying a licence means you get third party insurance for your dog – I currently pay Dogs Trust £25 a year which covers all my dogs. I’d gladly pay that each if it was included in a licence, along with a few other benefits! It would need to be tied to the microchip number, so being able to get the licence from vets, and other pet services that microchip dogs would be of huge benefit, not just having to go into the post office.

    I’d want to see our local council get the money to reintroduce a dog warden, and have cover for longer hours to help and assist dog owners who may be struggling with issues and to reduce the number of people banging on my dog between the hours of 5pm and 9am and at weekends because we don’t have a dedicated dog warden available to advise finders! They would also need to offer free or very low fee microchiping, cheap dog tags with an engraving machine so they are instant, and set up dates to do these things throughout the year. In the past they’ve done these things at big dog shows, that have entrance fees, which is no good if you are on a low budget. They need to take this service round to local dog training clubs in the borough, give talks on responsible dog ownership and help to advise owners on the basics of dog law.

    Enforcement of mess, no tags, noise, having no licence etc should be included in their duties of course, but education should be first and foremost. I would strongly support a dog licence if it meant all these things (plus other great stuff I’m sure I haven’t thought of yet) were the result.

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more Linda! It’s a troubling issue across the UK. Most councils only have one dog warden. I know that in one particular case they have one dog warden per THREE councils! How on earth can they enforce these welfare legislations when it’s virtually impossible? I know in my council we only have one dog warden and he is always backlogged in duties and work, the resources they have are incredibly stretched.

      It’s a shame because it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse, the last thing I’d do is cut services to dog wardens, they do an amazing job and I will always stand by that.

  13. As I understand it the National Association of Dog Wardens are expecting to have less people on the ground. Like the rest of us (including DEFRA) they have no idea who is going to police the compulsory micro chipping regulations when they come in.

  14. Not sure how I feel, as already mentioned these things are pointless if not enforced and only responsible owners will bother. I think there should be some ruling as to breeding though. I think there should only be registered breeders and breeding shouldn’t be allowed otherwise. There’s far too many dogs out there which exceed the demand and too many dogs are left without homes and neutering should be compulsory IMO. Again if these things aren’t properly enforced then it will mean nothing.

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, Alex. Obviously there should be something there in place to prevent these things from happening. We need to think of the regulations we already have in place, improve where we can and see if it is logicically possible to enforce it.

  15. I don’t believe there should be a licence. I personally feel it will end up with more dogs being dumped because people can’t afford them. I have 12 dogs of my own so any licence could well mean I’d have to give some of them up if the amount was not insubstantial as could many multi dog households (although to be honest I’d probably opt for civil disobedience on that regard 😉 ), besides as microchipping is becoming compulsory next year then surely that will be no different to a licence? No amount of chips, licences etc will get people to suddenly look after their dogs and not treat them as accessories which can simply be disposed of when they decide they no longer what it or want another one and so on. Maybe force people to watch unwanted dogs being put down may change a few peoples minds?

    1. The new microchipping law is laughable. Microchipping is to be compulsory but not scanning for a chip by the authorities, vets, rescues etc. And a microchip is not proof of ownership, and I can’t see police adding yet another gadget to their belt to scan dogs, and they’d have to be shown HOW to scan because chips often migrate to other parts of the body to where it was originally inserted. Grrrrrr

  16. No they should not be reintroduced, they are required in NI and it simply does not work and cannot be policed effectively. All dogs should be registered with the KC with a separate database developed for non-pedigree dogs, and the details of the breeder and owner registered via microchipping/dna profiling for all dogs. Anyone who breeds dogs should be responsible for the life of that pup/dog to ensure they are sold to a suitable home. Should the owners find themselves unable to care for the pup/dog, it should be returned to the breeder, and/or rehomed with their agreement to a suitable home.

    1. And make the Kennel Club even richer than it is at the moment??? I think a national database where dogs/owners details can be registered from birth and be a service that is free of charge with owners receiving a metal tag with dogs number on it which can easily be located online with national database and microchip company (Petlog?). Nothing to do with the Kennel Club. Most people would do it if it was free, but would hesitate if charged.

      1. problem is the chip companies will not join forces(although some have). The KC, for all their faults, has a register system all set up and they do give loads to AHT and research/charities as well. They are a LTD company with seeable accounts.There are questionable others waiting in the wings to take over if not with a dubious financial track record.

  17. I wasn’t around the last time but I do think they need something in place.
    With a compulsory workshop / test maybe involved too. Not just being able to go out and buy one. Education is key in improving welfare, avoiding accidents / bites and just generally having a well trained dog.
    Someone mentioned that in Australia or NZ they get different colour tags each year which they have to wear so you can tell at a glance if the licence was current.
    There would be a lot to consider regarding how it would work and be policed but if it was successfully managed it could reduce the number of dogs ending up as strays and rehomed or destroyed.

  18. All the legislation in the world is worth diddly squat without the right people to enforce and monitor it. Stop outsourcing the dog warden services and bring them all back in-house with enough people employed to do the job properly

  19. what worries me is if they make them too expensive some people would have to give their much loved pets to rescue which are already overflowing plus how will they be enforced we already have compulery chiping with owners details on there what is the point of the chip if u need a licence with the same thing on ?
    i feel tht it wont make a differance as the reponsible owners are already doing as they should and would probably be the only people that actually go and get one and i feel they could end up being the owners that get punished instead of the bad

  20. I think compulsory licence is NOT the way to go. I fear the only people who will pay are the responsible dog owners. This is the same as horse passports and to a lesser degree car registration/insurance etc.
    I don’t see why honest people should pay, the people who should pay are those who are caught doing wrong. Abuse of any animals and driving the unregistered/untaxed/uninsured cars. The fines should be much heftier and that money should be used to protect the honest amongst us..

  21. yes if the money goes to the pounds and rescues ,and the seven day limit is reviewed ,the money could go to the dogs that are in the homes for the extra seven days ,give the owners more time to find their dogs ,means less dogs being put down ,i would pay a licence fee on these terms

  22. Those people who have dogs now and are responsible owners have there dogs chipped, pay vet bills etc, its these people who will be hurt in the pocket if yearly dog licenses were re-introduced, the irresponsible ones just dump dogs and expect others to clear up the aftermath, chipping dogs is coming into law, big fines should be handed out should anyone not comply. the RSPCA should have NO part in this license side of things. £100,000 + a year in donations for what little they do to help owners of animals is quite enough for these greedy people. time after time I have seen requests for help on social media sites for animals in distress, only to be refused. they should also lose the title Royal, they are no longer run as a charity but as a big business, if it costs them cash they dont want to know.

    1. Let’s not make this a “let’s slag off the RSPCA” thread. They are the ONLY organisation in this country that prosecutes animal abusers. Go and work with them for 6 months. Full time. I doubt you would have the stomach for it. It’s not a job, it’s a vocation. They have less than 300 inspectors to investigate more than 150,000 complaints of cruelty and neglect every year. They do not deal with stray dogs and cats. Councils have a contract with local kennels who act as official dog pounds. Some people get miffed because the RSPCA doesn’t respond immediately to something they phone in about and slag them off. Triage is the name of the game. The more important and emergency cases are seen first. A charity has to be run like a business (Battersea Dogs Home, Dogs Trust, Woodgreen etc, etc are also run like a business) without which an organisation would go bust in no time. The number of small rescues that go to the wall each year is because as money comes in, money goes out, without a thought that to run it successfully you have to have capital to pay for rent, insurance, food, etc. Prosecutions are VERY expensive, salaries, vehicles, etc, etc. Or would you prefer that instead of prosecuting the sicko animal abusers, they just carry on with abusing???

      1. I think you raise a very important point there Valerie. It is very easy to criticize the RSPCA and I personally don’t agree with a lot of policies and approaches they have in place but the fact is the people on the front line do a terrific job. If any organisation can help ease the pressure the local councils experience on a daily basis I do take my hat off to them because as you correctly said, it’s certainly no easy job. I disagree with the politics but I do admire those who do a terrific job on the front line. As you say, if it’s not the RSPCA doing these things, who else is going to do it?

  23. Responsible dog owners would buy as licence. Irresponsible dog owners and puppy farmers wouldn’t bother. Do Dog Breeders have to be licenced? If not, they should be.

  24. Sound legislative proposals from the Advisory Council currently sit gathering dust in a drawer at DEFRA offering workable cost effective strategies for addressing dog breeding & ownership. Still the stakeholders refuse to pull together and it still seems to be more about their status than that of the dogs
    #handsupindespair

  25. Dog licensing is just a tax on the responsible people. It will do nothing for the welfare of dogs and is only being pushed by the R$PCA as a potential funding stream for them. Look to places like Ireland that have dog licenses and see it has done nothing to improve their animal welfare, they still ship van loads of dogs to the UK to rehome here.
    Sort the microchip law out first surely that is the same as a license especially if there was some compulsion to keep details upto date and for checks to be made. Even if a dog is microchipped and owner found nothing is done if the owner says they don’t want the dog back.
    Terrible cases of cruelty go unpunished so how will dog licenses change anything.

  26. Im a ardent dog lover and prefer animals than people because they give us unconditional love. Just recently I saw Question Time was coming to High Wycombe and so I applied to be in the audience, but now I have to wait for a phone call from them 2 or 3 days before the progamme to see if Im invited. Anyway the one question I want to raise to the panel, that’s if Im asked to say my question, isn’t it time the dog license came back and that every dog owner must have one and at a cost that irresponsible people will think twice about getting a dog.

    I have sent an email to my local MP as well, Steve Baker, stating my views about the dog license needs to be brought back, because we are hearing of more dog attacks on people and so many dogs being neglected. Perhaps the dog license was done away with because perhaps they thought that other domesticated animals i.e. rabbits, birds cats, etc. were no trouble to keep. But they don’t attack people, dogs do – this is why the dog license needs to come back. And I think a lot more needs to be done by our government in relation to dogs. For instance they should have all puppy farms shut down; people should only be able to buy from reputable breeders who hopefully in the near future will have a dog license, or buy from rescue centres; and stricter laws protecting these beautiful animals from neglect and abandonment. The government needs to do more for domesticated animals especially our four legged friends. Unfortunately they cannot speak up, but we can for them.

  27. Janet here again. I forgot to mention as well about dogs being micro-chipped. Yes, that’s another ‘must.’. In the near future I would l ike to see the law stand that all dog owners must have their dog micro-chipped and have a dog license.

    1. Thanks for your comment Janet, I’m really glad to see you taking an interest in this and taking it up with your local MP, any awareness is really important in my opinion.

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