The Law and Dog Tags (What’s Needed As A Dog Owner)


When I purchased my dog,Sam, he was my first. Having no prior dog owning experience, I had done my research. As such, I strongly recommend and advise fellow would-be dog owners to do the same. Dogs are living creatures, afterall – and no small undertaking, either. As such, I had read every guide I could get my hands on. Or, at least, every guide available in my local library and book shops. Of the books I read, Collins Complete Dog Manual, was especially useful, and reassuring even after we’d brought Sam home. And so we did bring him home, and so I thought i knew it all, at least in theory. As it turns out, I was wrong.

I knew enough about breeds, dog food, behaviour, environment – you name it – to write my own book, or series for that matter. What I missed, failed to process or skipped completely was the legalities surrounding dog tags.

Sam had a collar waiting for him, of course. More, his collar did feature a dog tag which had purchased via the good folk at Doggie Tags and had been personalised with his name. I’d even gone so far as to purchase a tag shaped in and featuring an enamelled image of his breed (he is a Cavalier King Charles). What I had not done was have any more information engraved, despite the fact the company, Doggie Tags, whoprovided the tag recommend having the following information engraved – and will do so for free:

1) Family Name,
2) House No. & Postcode,
3) Telephone Number

I think I was just excited and was too sure of my own ability no to lose or otherwise misplace my dog, that it all seemed superfluous. So, I had just ‘Sam’ engraved. Hence, I am writing this as a dog owner who later learned that by walking Sam, on a lead, in a public area I was committing a criminal offense…without knowing it.

Consequently, when I did lose Sam, and learned the truth – and the real importance, law aside, of having the above information engraved onto your dog’s tag, I made it my mission to pass what I had learned on to others.

The Law

UK law, as set out by and in ‘The Control of Dogs Order 1992’, states that all dogs in a public area must be wearing an appropriate collar which either features a plate, dog tag or in some way is affixed with the name of the owner, the owner’s home address / where the dog lives
and the full postcode of that address.

Phone numbers are not required by law because phone numbers change far more often than home addresses. That said, I still recommend opting to include a telephone number, and had my home phone number engraved on Sam’s new tag. While not legally required, after my experience of losing Sam, I wanted to do everything I could to ensure, should that ever happen again (God forbid), I’d be hopefully reunited with him…and sooner rather than later.

In fact, Sam was not picked up by a dog warden or the police, he was taken in by a neighbour who knew and recognised him. It was consequently, my kind, but slightly miffed neighbour who informed me about my legal requirements, as Sam’s owner. Had Sam been picked p by either a dog warden or the police, my neighbour made it clear to me, I could have found myself being fined anything up to a staggering £5000, or worse yet, have never been reunited with Sam at all.

So, ‘dog tag two’, also from Doggie Tags, but this time (my husband’s turn to choose) is shaped like a bone and painted with black enamel, and (my input) is studded with Swarovski crystal elements. The flipside of the tag features, most importantly, the following information, and nothing more:

First line: My name and my husband’s name followed by our surname
Second Line: Our home address, complete with full post code
Third Line: Our landline telephone number, as we change our mobile phones quite often and despite using the same SIM cards, if either of us lost our mobile’s, the number would no longer be in use.

My advice to other dog owners, or would-be dog owners, is to have a dog tag engraved with the same information. If not to please the law then to ensure you’ve done everything possible (short of not losing your dog like I did!) to keep your beloved pooch safe and happy.


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