UK: Legal powers to stop dogs causing distress to others including chasing cats

Dog barking looking menacing
Dog barking looking menacing
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Your neighbour keeps dogs and they bark incessantly causing you distress. Your neighbour is a complete pain-in-the-butt. Starting Monday 20th October 2014, in the UK, you can do something about it.

New laws coming into force, Monday, will give powers to the police, local authorities and social housing landlords to issue a community protection notice which forces dog owners to take preventative action if their dog is chasing someone’s cat or for that matter behaving in a way which causes distress or damage in any way.

The test whether a dog owner receives a notice is whether the dog’s behaviour is having a persistent and unreasonable ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality’.

The concept is to take preventative measures; to force irresponsible dog owners to make sure their dogs are under control and not endangering people, peoples’ property or their pets. This is a different concept to the Dangerous Dogs Act which targets certain dog breeds and brands them as dangerous.

Another classically distressing example of dog behaviour is when a dog bites someone without reason or even growls at people and frightens them. About 2 years ago a small terrier lunged at me as I walked past him. He bit me on the knee. I still have the scar and my trousers were ruined. The dog was on a lead with two other dogs on their leads. All three being accompanied by a women who had no control over them. That would be a good example of the kind of behaviour that the new ‘Canine ASBO’ is designed for. ‘ASBO’ means Anti-social Behaviour Order.

The new powers come from the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

These new notices also provide powers to ban dog owners from taking their dogs to schools and play areas, to repair fencing, clean dog kennels and install a letter cage to protect postmen. These are just a selection of possible orders.

This law should please and help Ruth and Babz as for some time they have had to put up with persistent barking by neighbours’ dogs. Often neighbours whose dogs cause distress are stubborn, unreasonable, rude and obstructive. In fact they are often unpleasant people who don’t care about the consequences of their actions and are unsympathetic towards others who complain and worse.

Now people who felt at a lose as to what to do to stop dogs causing misery can take positive steps which have real force to improve their lives. I suppose the only hurdle will be to convince the local authority or police that there is a genuine problem. The key will be to get evidence in video. You can’t beat good video and all cameras these days can create videos.

Fines up to £2,500 are available if an order is broken by the person served with the notice. If a guard dog business is served a notice and breaks it the fine can be as high as £20,000.

Photo (modified by Michael) by chefjancris

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

41 thoughts on “UK: Legal powers to stop dogs causing distress to others including chasing cats”

  1. Egads! – You couldn’t even enjoy your own yard w/your boys w/o guarding them every moment? Those people must have been head-cases. But at least you do have your N.W. where you live now – which should help.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I feel the solitude when I wheel the garbage can into the roadway for the monthly pickup (don’t generate much, as I grow most of my victuals). Yes – the ocean fog & silence are heaven as you stand in the road at 3:00 a.m. and listen to the loons gabbling in their sleep down on the riverbank. (If you put out the can in the evening, yobs ambling down the road will tip it over.) The quietude is perfect – no barking dogs at night, no noisy kids during the day, nothing but wilderness to the east & west, and not too much more to the north and south. But after nearly ten years of living here, my friends are still an eight- to 20-mile drive from the house, and to have a NW watch where I live would be a joke: the neighbors ARE the marauders – they all have rap sheets!

    At least you’ve related reasonably well to the last two tenants; you managed to be pleasant even if you didn’t enjoy them. (Though you indicate that the new ones next door are very nice.) It’s the best you can do – it’s the best I’m able to muster. And it’s safer than popping your cork, as I did with those ruffians clambering over my fence day & night. Now if only the OCD could grasp the fact that unemployed tenants w/bunches of animals in that flat mean vacancies every few months and costly cleanups and repairs.

  2. Ruthie – If you have any feeling for your cats, don’t ever, EVER even consider reporting to the police a neighbor’s barking dog.

    Your sister is one thousand percent correct. I have lived through that nightmare for nearly five years, before finally getting my Frankenvine hedge to grow 20 feet high and 18 feet thick.

    The first and last time I’ve ever shouted at anyone in all my born days was when the ‘Ma Barker’ clan that lived several hundred feet down the road began jumping my fence and grabbing apples.

    No. 1: I do not like apples. No. 2: I’m not a female Scrooge. Anyone who wanted apples was welcome to come to the gate and ask for them, and he could have shopping bags full. But these j. delinquents were leaping my fence like kangaroos, and after the years of having vandals pussyfooting in here on dark nights and tearing my veggie garden to shreds, I’d become a mite thin-skinned over the unwillingness of these ruffians to recognize the difference between a public park and private property.

    Which is why, when I saw one of them jump my fence one morning something inside me detonated, and I roared at him with leather lungs ‘You get the bl**dy h*** off my property!’ His eyes started out of their sockets, his jaw dropped and he yelled back at me ‘You don’t have to be rude!’ ‘You don’t lecture me on manners, buddy!’ I bellowed in return. ‘I can have you arrested for trespass! I don’t come onto YOUR property and grab whatever I see that I want!’

    I was thunderstruck at the magnitude of my fury, and so was he. He gaped for a couple of seconds, then spun around and ran off.

    Well…they made me pay the price. At least twice a week for the next two months he and his two teenaged brothers were throwing themselves against my fence late at night, bashing it to the ground. My contractor charged $40.00 an hour to make repairs, and within a couple of days the fence was flat as a pancake again. Why? All because I dared to stand up for my rights.

    You report any barking of neighbors’ dogs, and you can say goodbye to your boyz when the neighbors either shoot them with air guns or put out anti-freeze or tasty bits laced with rat poison.

    I asked the local P.D. if I should get a dog to keep the vandals out, and they said the neighbors could poison or shoot a dog (everyone down here is gun-happy).

    Babz is exactly on target in zeroing in on retaliation. Over the years – though things have quieted down since my killer hedge – when I called the PD at night I asked them NOT TO PARK in the roadway when they came out here, but to pull their patrol car into my garage so none of the neighbors would see the car, which would give them something to cackle over. End result? They’d make my life even more miserable. And as she rightly points out: the cops are here for only a few minutes. And when they leave, it’s right back to Square One: the hoodlums close in with redoubled vengeance. And she is right. There IS no answer. The new law in the UK sounds hunky-dory at first blush, but it can have deadly repercussions when you have animals of your own.

    Do not report ANY NEIGHBOR if you can avoid it — just keep a low profile, and take one day (night) at a time. Sickening & sad, but a way of life sometimes.

    1. Yes, reluctantly I agree that what you say is applicable to some (most perhaps) people Sylvia because the world is mad. The good people give in to the bad people. We submit to bad behavior. That results in a worse world.

    2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

      Don’t worry Sylvia, this was exactly why we moved last time, because once we started fighting back, the bullying got worse. The last straw was that our cats Bryan and Ebony couldn’t sit in our own garden, we stood outside with them for the last few days until we got away. Surely we can’t be so unlucky as to get NFH in the house next door to this one again, but if so and it gets too bad we will have to move, we don’t want to until Babz can retire and we can get right away from the area but our cats come first. The other side are liveable with now, they are trying to make their dogs behave, they’re actually a nice young couple. We live and let live as long as our cats are safe and happy and we know everyone because of running Neighbourhood Watch, it’s just when new people come it’s worrying until we know what they are like.

  3. It’s a good law, and well overdue for keeping dogs under control, barking snarling dogs are not everyone’s cup of tea and the more badly behaved the dog is it seems like the owner is correspondingly ignorant LOL. But (there has to be a but) a person would have to think very carefully and be absolutely desperate to call in the law to a neighbour about their dogs because there is the dreaded retribution to consider. Make a complaint to the police and they are at your house, within a couple of days, for about 20 minutes, then they have a word with the neighbour, then they leave and you’re on your own……. There is a programme on the TV called Nightmare Neighbours from Hell and it is all about disputes getting blown up out of all proportion and nastiness escalating over several years until something has to give.
    So, while I think the law is exactly what is needed, especially for such as postmen, there are still going to be people who daren’t resort to using it for fear of comeback from the dog owners. Such is life 🙁

    1. I agree Babz, it would be a last resort but it gives teeth to a person who has no solution and who has asked the irresponsible neighbour several times. I agree though that some people are beyond the law in their attitude and they are dangerous so it can be better to simply but that means the bastard wins.

      It is sad that the nasty people win because they are lawless.

      1. Yes some people get away with their antisocial behaviour because they are just so aggressive and frightening that no one will challenge them. I consider Ruth and myself to be strong, we’ve coped with a lot over the years with not much, if any, support and we hate the bastards of the world to win, but sometimes there’s no other choice. But I do think this is a good and positive step.

        1. I totally know where you’re coming from Barbara but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. You are both gutsy ladies and I know you could do it but your cats couldn’t and I know that because of them you have to hold the candle to the devil as a lot of good law abiding citizens do.

      2. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

        We moved from our last home to get away from scum next door who used their yob sons and dog as weapons. They were very sly and we couldn’t prove what they were doing to us. Once they started threatening our cats in our own garden,that was it, we left and had to almost give our own house away to get rid of it and now we have to pay rent. But what price peace of mind? I remember the day we moved, I said to Babz ‘They’ve won’ but she replied ‘They haven’t really because while we can get away from them, they can NEVER get away from themselves’ She was right! Nasty people are stuck with themselves forever. Sometimes it’s best just to walk away.

        1. What is sad Ruth is that the scum should be moved. They should suffer all the hassle of moving. Why are the good and law abiding the ones who have to move? If effect they won the battle except for the point that Babz made but they are so ignorant they probably don’t comprehend the consequences of their actions and don’t feel bad about it.

          1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

            They are still at it there, ruining neighbours lives. Our poor old much loved family home is a rented out one now and looks a right neglected dump, it was sold to a buy to let owner eventually because people only put up with those scumbags so long, then move on, no one wants to own it and live in it.

  4. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    It sounds all good, especially that dog owners will be forced to have better control over their dogs to stop them chasing cats, but they have to be caught first. About 10 miles from us there has been a spate of cats killed by a man with a lurcher but it’s not yet known who he is and when/if he’s caught they will have to prove it was him. Our Durham police do a wonderful job but the courts always let them down by being too lenient. Feral colonies are particularly in danger of course.
    Our personal situation has eased a bit since the man one side of us with dogs in kennels in his garden has gone, we had a year of hell with their noise and stink, but as the house is privately let, no one but the house agency could do anything about it and they didn’t care about neighbours complaints. Maybe this new law will force them to take action if it happens again, we live in dread who moves in next, having had the NFH since they started letting out the house. But even so, the tenants have respected the neighbourhood cats.
    The other side of us we have two yappy terriers, one throws itself against the dividing fence, but after words with them they are trying to stop that and to not let them bark too long. It’s live and let live here in our street, within reason and no dogs run free. The neighbourhood cats are accepted even by those who don’t particularly like cats and they are safe, even the ones belonging to an irresponsible neighbour who leaves them out all hours.
    I think it’s good that postmen/women will be protected, our posties dread the corner house where the dog leaps at the letterbox and delivering their NW circulars we have to shove it through quickly before our fingers get bitten.

    1. You make a couple of good point, I think. Firstly, if it was obligatory to microchip dogs there would be no problems of identifying the owner or the problem would be much reduced and secondly, just the existence of the law should or could make irresponsible dog owners think twice and consider the consequences of their actions. Barking dogs are a major hassle for people.

        1. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

          Yes usually a greyhound cross, they were originally bred for scumbags to hunt rabbits and they are real cat killers 🙁

  5. Ofcourse.
    I’ve made many, many posts about this.
    A free-roaming cat is subjected to being taken to a kill shelter… THE LAW IN MOST USA PLACES SAYS THAT NO DOMESTICATED CAT CAN BE OUTSIDE THE CONFINES OF THEIR HOME.
    No cat can be free-roaming unless a part of a REGISTERED colony.

    1. I have written this so many times. Wonder when it will sink in.

      AGAIN, In most USA states, no cat is ever allowed to free-roam. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW. They will be taken away by Animal Control and destroyed.

      Is there anything that is confusing about this?

      This is the #1 reason why caretakers keep their cats inside. It’s not so much about keeping them safe from cars or predators. It’s more about that $54.00 fine per cat that are caught outside.

      1. Its not that we are confused about the fact that is law its that this concept is difficult to swallow because I live in the UK where cats have always been allowed to free roam and its so alien to think of a place or a reason why this wouldn’t be the case.

    2. Dee it’s my understanding that there are no state laws in the US which forbid domestic cats from being outdoors. Most of the ordinances which permit animal control to pick up free roaming cats, only apply town or city wide.

      1. Most every county in the US have ordinances that forbid free-roaming cats.
        Please check your county ordinances. I would be thrilled to find differently.

        1. I’m not in the US, but I have seen this subject hotly debated on other forums. Many of the posters asserted that there are no leash laws where they live. (Brower County and Jefferson County are just two that spring to mind.)

          A number of respondents said the ban was one imposed by their landlords as part of the tenancy agreement.

          I don’t doubt there are bans in many places, but with the US being so vast, I was curious as to how widespread the ban genuinely is.

          On a side note, is the ban a back-door way of exterminating stray and feral cats?

          1. I am not following this thread but one thing I do know is that in the USA there is a hotchpotch of laws. States create their own laws and they vary from state to state and then there are local laws at city level and county level.

          2. It’s all just a big mess when counties and cities within start implementing laws.
            All I can really say is that I had to pay a $1080.00 fine 4 years ago because I had cats off of my property. The fine was $54.00 per cat.They “guesstimated 20 when most weren’t even mine. A subsequent “offense” would have meant a court appearance.
            We all know how that would have turned out. No cats, mucho money…
            Reply ↓

        2. Dee, does “free-roaming” mean outside of the home and back yard? As far as I am aware about 30-50% of Americans keep their cats inside full-time which means that 200 million let them outside. That information appears to contradict what you state.

          1. Cats are considered free-roaming if they are off their caretaker’s property.
            Florida has no state leash law, as you know. The laws are made by the individual counties and cities within the state. There are 67 counties here and only a handful have no specific law on the books; however, some of the cities within those counties have written the ordinances for themselves.
            It’s really a big ‘ole mess with so many different ways to enact law.

            1. It’s all just a big mess when counties and cities within start implementing laws.
              All I can really say is that I had to pay a $1080.00 fine 4 years ago because I had cats off of my property. The fine was $54.00 per cat.They “guesstimated 20 when most weren’t even mine. A subsequent “offense” would have meant a court appearance.
              We all know how that would have turned out. No cats, mucho money…
              Reply ↓

              1. You may have been caught under some umbrella law concerning nuisance rather than a law concerning cats or pets etc.. There will be a local ordinance concerning nuisances of various types. The problem is that it is all but impossible to find the actual laws on the internet because they are not published or if they are they are hard to find unless you know the full name of the statute or regulation. I’ll have a look today for Florida laws that might cover this.

    3. Dee, don’t know where you have lived besides Florida, but I have lived in Texas, Pennsylvania, California and North Carolina, and in many different towns and cities within those states, and I can tell you that there are as many different laws regarding free-roaming cats as there are places I have lived. In a number of those places there were are continues to be no rule at all.

  6. Somewhat confusing for me since no dog is allowed unleshed without an owner here.
    Persistent barking would be considered a public nuisance.
    May result in a first warning. Subsequent complaints would result in the killing of the dog as a public nuisance.

    1. Constant barking is a nuisance here too but to get a remedy under the law of tort for nuisance is very difficult but this new law makes it much easier and more straightforward. This new law addresses a weakness with the existing law regarding dogs. It is preventative meaning we don’t have to wait for a dog to kill a child before acting and it is firmly focused on the dog’s owner not the dog.

      There is no law about dogs having to be leashed her in the UK except for certain places.

Leave a Reply to Dee (Florida) Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important
Scroll to Top