Dog owners using harness instead of collar could be hit with £5000 fine 2 months ago

Dog owners using harness instead of collar could be hit with £5000 fine

Dog owners could even be slapped with a six-month prison sentence in the worst-case scenario

Dog owners seen walking their pets with harnesses instead of dog collars could be hit with a £5000 fine - or worse.

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As reported in the Daily Recordthe cause of the potential fine comes down to whether or not the harness has the proper identification information, as with other dog leads.

Harnesses are a more popular choice among many small dog owners, as traditional collars and leads can put unnecessary strain on a dog's neck and even damage their windpipe. However, individuals need to ensure that these harnesses still have ID tags.

Dog harness with ID tag Credit: Getty - Example of a harness with proper identification (black ID tag on collar).

According to the 1992 Control of Dogs Order for Scotland and England, all dogs must be wearing a collar with the owner's name and address on it; anyone in breach of this is considered guilty of an offence against the Animal Health Act 1981 which is "punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale".

Level 5 fines were previously capped at a maximum of £5000 but this changed in March 2015 and a spokesperson for DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) told TeamDogs that these fines can now be "unlimited".

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In a worst-case scenario, dog owners found guilty of walking their pets without the proper identification could face convictions of six months in prison under section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

At the end of the day, making sure your pet is properly tagged is in your best interest - not only in terms of the animal's overall safety but to ensure you and the other pets around you are protected too.

Harnesses are fine, as long as you purchase one with enough room for a proper ID tag. So remember to protect your good boys and girls - and yourself - no matter what.

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