Animal Welfare Act

Animal Welfare Act

Animal Welfare Act 2006
“Under the Animal Welfare Act, it’s against the law to be cruel to an animal.  If you own an animal, you must ensure that its welfare needs are met.  Find out what your responsibilities are under the law and where to get help if you need it.

You are responsible for your pet’s welfare, under the Animal Welfare Act.

This means that you must look after your animal by making sure it:
• has a proper diet, including fresh water
• has somewhere suitable to live
• is kept with or away from other animals, depending on its needs
• is allowed to express itself and behave normally
• is protected from, and treated for, illness and injury
The Act also says that you must be over 16 years old to buy an animal.

Who enforces animal welfare
Local councils, animal health officers and the police have the power to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. If you are cruel to an animal or don’t provide for its welfare needs, you may be banned from owning animals. Or, you could be fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison for up to six months.

Councils also issue licences to help with the regulation of animal welfare,
including licences for:

• horse riding establishments
• dog breeding establishments
• animal boarding establishments
• pet shops

For more information about the Animal Welfare Act and how it affects you as a pet owner, visit the website of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).