Dogs and the law

There are three main dog-fouling bye-laws detailed below that are effective in the borough.

Dog waste can cause illness and disease including toxocariasis. We are determined to educate dog owners to act responsibly and clear up their dogs waste.

A bye-law (introduced in 2006) covers the walking of multiple dogs and the licensing of multiple dog walkers. Find out about the new regulations and how to apply for a license.

In addition to the bye-laws, there are four Acts of Parliament that govern aspects of dog ownership in the UK:

Dog-fouling bye-laws

Read guidance on reporting dog fouling.

Dog bye-laws - housing land

There are three main points to this bye-law.

  • You must not let your dog on any of the amenity greens, playgrounds, gardens and drying areas (where washing is aired)
  • Dogs are allowed on paths and footpaths, parking spaces, estate roads and other hard surfaces as long as you keep them on a lead and do not let them in to the dog ban areas
  • You must not let your dog foul on any part of the estate. You can be fined up to £500 for each offence

If you are not sure whether this law applies to you or your estate, you should contact your housing manager or the dog control service.

Poop-scoop bye-laws

Poop-scoop bye-laws now apply to all parks and open spaces in the borough.

There are three main parts to the bye-law covering dog-fouling and poop-scooping.

  1. Dog exercise areas: these are places where you can exercise your dog without having to clear up dog waste
  2. Dog free areas: these are places that you cannot take your dog under any circumstances, such as children's playgrounds, bowling greens and tennis courts
  3. Poop-scoop areas: these are places where you have to clean up after your dog

You could be fined up to £500 if you do not keep to this law.

The Control of Dogs Order (1992)

The Control of Dogs Order 1992 says that all dogs must wear a collar and an identity tag in a public place. The identity tag must show the name and address of the owner. You can be fined up to £5,000 for this offence. Your dog must still wear an identity tag even if it is microchipped.

Dangerous Dogs Act (1991)

Section one - pit bull terriers

If you own a pit bull terrier, or a similar kind of dog, you must keep the dog muzzled and on a lead in a public place. You must not let anybody under the age of 16 lead the dog. You must also have an exemption certificate from the index of Exempted Dogs.

If you do not keep to these laws:

  • Your dog may be destroyed
  • You will be fined up to £5,000; and
  • You will face up to six months in prison

Section three - all breeds

It is an offence for a dangerously out of control dog to be in a public place. We can take action before a dog has bitten anybody. If the dog acts in a way in which someone thinks they will be attacked, the offence has been committed. You could be fined up to £5,000 or face six months in prison.
Magistrates may also order that your dog is destroyed.

Guard Dogs Act (1975)

It is an offence to let guard dogs wander freely and unsupervised on private land or in any public place.

Section one of the act says that you must clearly display a warning on all outside walls stating that a guard dog is on site. You could be fined up to £5,000 for not displaying a sign. Section seven of the act says that the guard dog must:

  • Be supervised by a handler at all times; and
  • Be on a secure lead that does not stretch over the whole property

You could be fined £5,000 if you do not keep to this law.

Environmental Protection Act (1990)

Sections 149 - 151

These sections refer to stray dogs and our duty. We have the power to seize stray dogs and put them in kennels. You will have to pay a charge to have the dog returned. If you do not claim the dog within seven days of us seizing it, it becomes our property. We can give the dog a new home or destroy it.

In Wandsworth, we only enforce this act on owners who continually let their dogs stray. We charge £25 plus daily kennelling costs. We keep the dogs at a private kennel outside London.