Animal welfare

Information on animal welfare, animal licencing and dogs including lost, found and strays

What to do if you find a stray animal, have lost an animal, or suspect that an animal is being poorly treated

If you keep pets, or are thinking of getting a pet, you will have a legal responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to meet their welfare needs which include:

  • a suitable environment – by making sure that they have the right type of environment including shelter and somewhere comfortable to rest;
  • a suitable diet – by providing enough fresh water and the right type and amount of food to keep them fit;
  • to exhibit normal behavior patterns – by making sure they have enough space and proper facilities;
  • to be housed with or apart from other animals – by making sure they have the company of others of their own kind if appropriate; and
  • to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease – by making sure that their conditions and treatment avoid mental suffering, injury and disease and ensuring they get appropriate veterinary treatment when required.

The penalty for failing to care adequately for your pet could be a fine or even a prison sentence. Find out about caring for pets and learn more about the Animal Welfare Act 2006 from the RSPCA or download further information on animal welfare responsibilities.

You can report animal cruelty to the RSPCA on their emergency number 0300 1234 999.