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Coronavirus: updates, advice and guidance

Being a responsible dog owner

Advice for dog owners


  • What are my responsibilities as a dog owner?
  • What laws must I comply with?
  • Does my dog need training?

What are my responsibilities as a dog owner? 

As a dog owner you have a responsibility to ensure that your pet does not cause a nuisance to others. This means that you must comply with certain laws, most of which are straight forward and are there to ensure that people and dogs can live happily and safely in the community.

What laws must I comply with?

Dog Fouling

Picking up your dog's poop is an important part of being a responsible dog owner.  In 2016 a public space protection order (PSPO) was introduced in Colchester against the anti–social behaviour of dog fouling.

Under the above PSPO, owners are required to clear up after their dogs in public areas. Failure to do this will result in a fixed penalty charge of £100 or a fine in court of up to £1000.

Collar and tag

When in a public place all dogs must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on it, or on a plate or badge attached to it. It is an offence not to comply and you could also be liable for a fine.

A collar and tag will ensure that should your dog stray any member of the public or local dog warden can return your dog to you.

Micro chipping

Microchipping provides the security of knowing that if your dog strays, the chances of being re united with it will significantly increase. Under the new microchipping law that came into effect on 6 April 2016, all dogs and puppies must be microchipped and registered by the age of eight weeks. Colchester Borough Council offers a free dog micro - chipping service. To book an appointment please contact our Customer Service Centre on 01206 282581.

Controlling your dog in public

It is against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:

  • in a public place
  • in a private place, for example a neighbour’s house or garden
  • in the owner’s home

The law applies to all dogs

Does my dog need training?

Dogs need to be well socialised and trained from an early age, making sure they are safe and well behaved with people and other animals. Attending a training class and being consistent with training will help you raise a well-behaved dog.  If you believe your dog would benefit from training, please contact your vet.

To keep your dog safe, the 5 basic commands they should know: Sit, Down, Stay, Come and Heel.

Do you run responsible dog owner events?

We carry out a range of educational activities to promote responsible dog ownership at a variety of community and police led events.

How do I report issues of cruelty towards dogs?

The RSPCA's primary function is to promote kindness and prevent cruelty.

If you need to report cruelty or a dog in distress you can call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 or contact them online.

Further Advice

Further advice for dog owners and how to be a responsible dog owner can be found