Dogs and the law

Dog fouling

Anyone who does not pick up when their dog fouls can be fined £75 or face court action.

You can report dog fouling online using our Report It system or contact us at - we will keep any information you provide anonymous.

Bagged dog waste can be put in any rubbish bin

Dog tagging

All dogs must wear a collar and identity tag in a public place. The tag must show the owner’s name and address. Our dog wardens enforce this law and fines of up to £5000 can be given by the Courts for an offence.

Always make sure that your dog wears a collar and identity tag, even if microchipped.

Barking dogs

Constant barking and howling is annoying to neighbours and could result in us taking legal action against you for causing a noise nuisance.

The Dogs Trust website [external link] contains useful information about why your dog barks and how to help him.

If a neighbour's dog is barking and you are concerned, the RSPCA website [external link] offers advice. If a neighbour's dog barks constantly and your neighbour does nothing to prevent it, please report it to environmental health.

Boarding kennels

The Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963 requires boarding kennels for cats and dogs to be licensed by us.

More information about licensing

Dog breeding

Anyone “in the business” of breeding and selling dogs (trading) needs to be licensed. Anyone producing five litters or more in a 12 month period also should be licensed regardless of whether they are in the business of breeding and selling dogs.

Two examples of consideration of whether someone is trading are:

  1. an intention to make a profit supports trading; and
  2. the number of transactions involved - systematic and repeated transactions support trade.

The Model Conditions for Licensed Dog Breeding Establishments produced by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health [external link] provides information for dog breeders on how to meet the welfare requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

More information about licensing

Dangerous dogs

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 [external site], bans the ownership, breeding, sale (both national and international) and exchange of certain types of fighting dogs – the ban currently covers pure breeds and cross breeds with the same physical and behavioural characteristics as the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero. The maximum fine for having a banned dog is £5000 and/or 6 months in prison and the dog may be destroyed.

Section 3 of the act applies to all dogs that are dangerously out of control in a public place (it does not apply to dogs in their own garden who jump up at visitors). If a dog acts in a way in which someone fears they will be attacked, then an offence is committed. The fines are up to £5000 and/or 6 months in prison and the Courts may order the dog to be destroyed.

A Police Officer or dog warden may seize a banned dog or a dog that is dangerously out of control. If you wish to report a dangerous dog, contact the Police on 101 or the dog wardens on 01325 388799. The Courts can also issue a warrant for the police to enter a building and seize a dog.

Public rights of way

Information about taking a dog on a public right of way is available on the rights of way pages

We enforce the following dog orders:

  • The Fouling of Land by Dogs (Darlington) Order 2010
  • The Dogs on Leads (Darlington) Order 2010
  • The Dogs on Leads by Direction (Darlington) Order 2010
  • The Dogs Exclusion (Darlington) Order 2010

These Orders will only cover selected areas of the Darlington Borough, please view the full order and maps which explain the four offences in more detail and the areas they will apply.

Anyone contravening the provisions of a Dog Control Order will commit an offence and may have to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75. Failure to comply may lead to conviction in a Magistrates' Court, and to a fine of up to £1,000.