Animal health and welfare

See also: animal licences

Animal Welfare Act 2006 

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 aims to: 

  • improve the welfare of animals 
  • impose greater responsibility on pet owners (whether permanent or temporary) for animal welfare 
  • provide greater investigation and entry powers for police and local authority staff to deal with offences 

Owner responsibilities 

Anyone responsible for an animal must ensure its welfare needs are met. This includes: 

  • a suitable environment 
  • a suitable diet 
  • the ability to show normal behaviour patterns such as exercising  
  • being housed with, or apart from, other animals 
  • being protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease 

In summer months you must make sure your pet doesn’t suffer from the heat. 

See RSPCA information on how to look after your pet when it’s warm (external link)


Offences include the: 

  • mutilation of animals, such as docking tails (other than for good medical reasons) 
  • selling or giving a pet as a prize to anyone under 16  


Depending on the type of offence and animals involved, enforcement is shared between the: 

  • RSPCA 
  • police 
  • local authorities 
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) 

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It is recommended that you have your pet spayed or neutered.  

Please see:

We do not offer a neutering service. Please contact your local vet. 

Free cat neutering

You may be eligible for free cat neutering. Please see:

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Reporting animal cruelty 

If you suspect an animal is being treated cruelly, contact: 

  • RSPCA, national cruelty and advice line: 0300 1234 999 

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Reporting an out-of-control dog 

You can contact the Metropolitan Police if you suspect: 

  • a dog is dangerously out of control  
  • the dog owner is using the animal to incite anti-social behaviour  


  • Metropolitan Police: dial 101 for the non-emergency service.

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Page last updated:

October 24, 2022

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