Pet experts at affordable dog food brand Harringtons are alerting dog owners to a little-known law that could lead to a £5,000 fine if their dog’s collar is incorrectly labelled.

Many dog owners assume that a name and phone number are sufficient when engraving a tag. However, under the Control of Dogs Order 1992, which applies in England and Scotland, dog owners must ensure their pets wear a tag with the owner’s name and address, including the postcode. While phone numbers can be helpful for quick contact if a dog gets lost, they are not a substitute for the required information.

Risks of Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with these tagging requirements not only risks a hefty fine but also increases the danger of dog theft. With 2,290 dogs stolen last year according to police figures, proper identification can help ensure the safe return of lost pets.

In addition to proper tagging, dog owners must also ensure their pets are microchipped. The Microchipping of Dogs Regulations require that details of the owner be registered with an authorised database and that puppies be microchipped by the breeder before going to their new homes. Violating this regulation can result in a £500 fine and potential criminal prosecution.

A spokesperson for Harringtons emphasised the importance of complying with these legal requirements, saying, “Some owners may consider a name and telephone number sufficient for a dog’s tag – owners may even believe microchipping removes the need for an ID tag. However, the law clearly states that their collar MUST have a tag detailing the owner’s name and address when out in public on dog walks. Not only is this required to adhere to the Control of Dogs Order 1992, but it makes it far easier for someone to return your dog to you should they get lost!”

Harringtons has created a complete guide to dog walking, featuring details on the UK’s most popular pet-friendly parks, the optimum distance for various breeds, and advice on when and how much to feed your dog. This guide aims to help dog owners keep their pets fit and healthy, particularly in the face of a growing obesity epidemic among dogs.