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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Falling foul of the law?

I attended a seminar by a dog law specialist who said not all assistance dog were exempt from clear up after their dog and that it is only Guide Dogs. How can someone in a wheelchair clear up after their dog? I have an assistance dog and most times I find it totally impossible.

It seems unfair that assistance dogs registered by one particular charity should receive special treatment over those trained by other, just as reputable charities.

Can you clarify the law?

Name supplied, via Facebook

Philip Biggs, Assistance Dogs (UK) Access Group, advises…
Dog Control Orders are made under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

Dog Control Orders replace the previous system of byelaws for the control of dogs, and also the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, which has been repealed.

The Dog Control Orders (Prescribed Offences and Penalties, etc.) Regulations provide for five offences which may be prescribed in a dog control order:

(a)   Failing to remove dog faeces;

(b)   Not keeping a dog on a lead;

(c)   Not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer;
        (d)  Permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded;

        (e)  Taking more than a specified number of dogs onto land.

Dog control orders provide exemptions in particular cases for registered blind people, and for deaf people and for other people with disabilities who make use of trained assistance dogs.
Anyone with any type of assistance dog is not subject to a Dog Control Order excluding dogs from specified land (d) in respect of his or her assistance dog.
Anyone (assistance dog user) other than a registered deaf person (whose disability will not prevent him or her from being aware of and removing dog faeces) is similarly exempt from a Dog Control Orders on the fouling of land (a)
These exemptions are not relevant to the other three offences which can be the subject of dog control orders.

It can be seen from the above that all assistance dog users are exempt from removing their dog’s faeces other than deaf people who use trained hearing dogs (this is assuming the deaf person is not also registered blind or has any other additional disability that would prevent him or her from removing their assistance dog’s faeces).  All assistance dog users are exempt from any Dog Control Order which excludes dogs from specified land.  Assistance dogs spend a very substantial part of their day under close lead control or in harness, it is vital for their wellbeing that they are able to have free running exercise during the day. Exclusion from land may place assistance dog users at a substantial disadvantage if they are unable to travel to land which is not subject to a dog control order.

All assistance dog users are not exempt from (b) (c) and (e) above.

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