Caring For Pets - The Law

Animal Welfare Act 2006

This Act replaced and updated most of the previous animal protection laws in UK. It makes it an offence to

  • Cause or allow unnecessary suffering to an animal,
  • Dock dog's tails, except for certain working dogs,
  • Administer poison to an animal,
  • To be any way involved in dog fighting.

It also places an obligation on any person who owns or cares for an animal to ensure that the animal's basic needs are met. Including:

  • Providing a suitable environment,
  • Providing a suitable diet,
  • Allowing it to exhibit normal behaviour,
  • Housing together or apart from others according to the species,
  • Protect it from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

These have been called The Five Freedoms by the RSPCA.

The punishments for breaking any part of the Animal Welfare Act are one year in prison, £20,000 fine and a ban from keeping animals.


To see how these obligations of care affect different types of pet click the links below.

Dog Code of Welfare

Cat Code of Welfare