Dog Ownership Law
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Dog Ownership Law


Dog ownership law can have several different aims, such as the welfare of the dog, the welfare of the community, the welfare of wild life and the prevention of hybridization. Some dog ownership laws are general and encompass all dog owners, while others have been constructed to target certain groups, such as owners of aggressive breeds or owners of dogs that have showed signs of aggressive behaviour in the past.  

Dog Ownership Law - The welfare of the dog

A dog ownership law will often establish a certain minimum standard when it comes to keeping dogs. Dogs will for instance need suitable accommodation, nutritious food, access to water, sufficient amounts of exercise and stimulation, and veterinary care when they fall ill or sustain a major injury.

Dog Ownership Law – Preventing damage and injury to persons and domestic animals

A dog needs to be trained and learn how to interact with people and domestic animals in a safe way. The owner of an aggressive breed is usually given an increased responsibility under dog ownership law, since the aggressiveness in such dogs must be channelled properly. A dog with strong guarding instincts must for instance be thought when and how it is allowed to protect the owners’ premises. In many parts of the world, there is one broad dog ownership law that encompasses all dogs, even the most timid breeds and individuals, and another dog ownership law that has been designed for special breeds (such as Pit bull terriers and Fila Braziliero) or special individuals (such as dogs deemed “vicious” due to previous actions).

Dog Ownership Law – Protecting wild life

In many countries, dog ownership law has sections that focus on the protection of wildlife. The dog ownership law can for instance include a leash law for certain months of the year when the wild fauna reproduce and there is a lot of nesting birds, deer calves, badger pups, and so on, around. In certain areas, you may be forced to keep your dog on a leash year round due to the vulnerability of the wild flora and/or fauna.

Dog Ownership Law – Preventing untidiness and damage to property

Dog ownership law typically has regulations regarding dog faeces and dog urination. You may be required to pick up after your dog, or keep it away from certain areas such as parks and beaches. Dogs are naturally not allowed to damage property, and if your dog escapes and digs up all the tulip bulbs in someone’s garden or chew on a fence, you will typically be forced to pay for the damages under the normal property damage laws in your part of the world. Many legal systems give dog owners a strict responsibility for their dogs, which means that you will be forced to pay even if you did not act irresponsible.  

Dog Ownership Law – Preventing dangerous diseases

A dog ownership law can make certain vaccinations mandatory. In some countries, immunization is not mandatory for dogs born within the country, will be necessary if you wish to import a dog from another country, or if you want to bring your dog along when you vacation abroad. 

Dog Ownership Law – Protection from hybridization

In many parts of the world, it is illegal to own, buy, purchase, give away, accept and take care of canine hybrids, e.g. mixes between dogs and wolves. If your bitch gives birth to hybrids, the dog ownership law will usually demand you to have them euthanized.

Disclaimer: This text is meant as an introduction only and might contain errors. Always refer to a lawyer in your area to get the facts in your particular case.

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