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Responsibilities of a dog owner

Ensure your dog carries identification

By law, a dog should wear a collar with a tag bearing the owner's name and address. You should also include an up to date mobile phone number. This is so that if your dog goes missing, the finder will be able to contact you. It is compulsory for all dogs to have a microchip fitted with their owner's details. Owners must ensure their details are up to date with the microchipping company.

Dogs under eight weeks old are exempt from the microchipping law. If you are buying a puppy, the breeder should have microchipped it and added their details.  Dogs can also be exempt through a certificate issued by a registered vet.

If your pet has a microchip and goes missing, the scanners held by the:

  • police
  • dog wardens
  • vets
  • RSPCA

help identify your pet's unique chip number to re-unite you with your dog.

Even if your dog is microchipped, it must wear a collar and tag in a public place to be legal.

Clear up after your dog

Everyone knows of the potential for dog faeces to carry disease as well as unpleasant odour when caught on shoes or wheels of wheelchairs, prams, bikes or scooters. It is an offence not to clear up after dogs and offenders are likely to receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). There are a few exceptions but, in general terms, any open land that the public has access to, whether by payment or not, is covered by this legislation, unless you have the direct permission of the land owner.

Dog waste can be 'bagged and binned' in any litter or dog bin, or taken home and deposited in your waste bin.

Keep your dog under control when on and off a lead

The person responsible for the dog should be able to ensure that the dog will return to heel when requested and will respond to simple commands. That person should also be able to hold or restrain the dog should the need arise. Dogs should be under the control of a suitable person at all times.

Prevent your dog from straying

Please ensure that your home and garden are secure against escape.

Do not leave your dog in a hot car

Even an open window may not be enough to be sure a dog will not over heat. It may be better to leave dogs at home where they have the comfort of shade and available drinking water. See RSPCA Dog Advice & Welfarefor more information on your obligation to your dog.  If you are concerned about a dog left in a car on a hot day please dial 999.

Make sure your dog doesn't bark excessively

We all recognise that dogs bark, however, excessive dog barking is both stressful to the dog and upsetting to those listening to it.  If you believe that you have a problem or have been advised that your dog barks excessively then consider what action you can take to resolve the problem.  It may be that your dog is bored or anxious when left alone.  A low volume radio left on can help to settle your dog but you may want to think about training your dog or speaking to a dog warden for advice.

Comply with Public Spaces Protection Orders

There is a dog-related Public Spaces Protection Order for West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland. Information signs are provided in these areas to show where the areas of concern are and the nature of the offence associated with it. If you are going to visit other areas, please ensure you check with the Local Authority for that area if any restrictions apply.

An Equality Impact Assessment has been carried out for the impact of these Orders on assistance dog users/owners.

Dogs on Leads by Direction

You may be directed by a dog warden to put your dog on its lead to enable them to speak with you or because your dog is causing undue distress to others, non-compliance can lead to a fixed penalty notice (FPN). Non payment of any FPN without a valid excuse means court action will be pursued in line with the council's enforcement policy and procedures. 

Further advice

The Dog Warden is happy to speak to members of the public on all dog related issues. If you have queries please contact the Dog Warden Service. 

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