9 UK Pet Laws You Might Not Know About

South_agency/E+/Getty Images

The UK is a nation that loves its pets. So much so that there are, rightly, plenty of rules and regulations regarding their welfare and protection. So if you're the proud owner of a furry friend there are a bunch of UK pet laws you may want to know about.

Back in 2007 the Animal Welfare Act came into force in England and Wales, as the BBC reports. It was and remains the most important and vital legislation for animal rights in the UK to date. According to the BBC, it was at the time the first change in legislation for animal rights in 94 years and combined over 20 different pieces of legislation in one package. Including seriously tougher penalties for those found to be guilty of neglect and cruelty to animals.

Throughout history as living conditions and technologies for both animals and their humans have developed, so have the necessary rules and regulations to keep all of the above happy and healthy. As time has ambled on and certain laws have become moot — they've become less and less known to the average animal lover.

According to the RSPCA's data from 2018, in the UK approximately 12 million households have pets. That's 44 percent of the population and although they can't be certain of the figures, they estimate that 51 million pets were owned at that time. Yikes that's a lot of critters and, potentially, a lot of ways to accidentally break the law.

Research by leading pet food brand, Webbox has unearthed some of the most unusual pet and animal laws in the UK. So here's some of the pet laws you may not know about.

1. Belt Up

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images

Lots of owners take their pooches along for the ride in their cars but were you aware that you could be fined up to £5,000 and have your car insurance invalidated if you don't suitably restrain your dog?

Not only are pets considered to be enormously distracting to drivers, but they're also just as able to be injured as humans in car accidents.

All animals are required to be restrained in car journeys by either putting a seatbelt around their cage or installing pet friendly seatbelts which attach to your car's regular seatbelts.

2. Don't Drink & Ride Horses & Cattle

Cattle? Do people ride cows? Well you guys, the law is there for a reason.

As the Daily Mail reports, under the Licensing Act 1872, it's illegal to be, "drunk while in charge on any highway or other public place of any carriage, horse, cattle…".

So if you thought you could leave your car at the pub and catch a ride home on a herd of cattle, better wise up friend — that's breaking the law.

3. Not Having Spare Poo Bags On Dog Walks

fotostorm/E+/Getty Images

Let me begin by saying as someone who lives on a street basically paved in dog poo I'm sad to say this isn't a law across the country. The Sun reports that some councils however, including Daventry District Council in Northamptonshire say that failure to provide the means to pick up after your dog at the request of an authorised officer will result in a £100 fine. Which means if you don't bring extras and you've just cleaned up a mess, you might be about to clean out the contents your bank account. Well, £100's worth anyway.

5. Not Microchipping Your Pets

Definitely the least shocking of laws on this list but incredibly, many people aren't aware that it's been a legal requisite since 2015. The Microchipping Of Dogs (England) Regulations made it mandatory for all dogs to be microchipped. If you fail to microchip your pooch you could be issued with a fine or even prosecuted

6. Encouraging Your Dog To Bark

Sally Anscombe/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Most dogs love barking. Alongside being good boys/girls, treats, and snuggles — it's kind of their thing.

On the Lancashire Coast however, the Daily Mail reports, dogs are censored. If you're caught encouraging your dog to bark in this part of the country you'll be in for it as it's illegal to incite your dog to bark unless instructed to do so by a police officer.

7. Burying Your Pet Anywhere You Want

You can't, it's illegal guys. Losing a pet is an utterly traumatic and devastating event. However, don't let your grief lead you to mindlessly head to your deceased pet's favourite park with a shovel.

The Metro reports that the official law states that you're only allowed to bury your pet on the grounds of the home it lived in. As well as this you must own that home, not rent, and your deceased pet must not be a classed as hazardous to human health.

According to the Yorkshire Post you can be fined up to £5,000 for breaching these rules so best bury the beast appropriately or find yourself grieving the loss of your pet and your rainy day fund, too.

7. Having A Pigsty In Front Of Your House

Tara Moore/DigitalVision/Getty Images

"The place is a pigsty", said everyone's mum ever at least a gazillion times. Well you guys, if you were keeping an actual pigsty out front you'd be breaking the law.

According to the Town Police Clauses Act of 1847 it's a criminal offence to have a pigsty in the front of your house, unless it's appropriately hidden.

Which means if you have little piggies (or big ones) they need to be housed out back or in sheltered accommodation. Of all the laws this to me is the silliest because I mean how happy would you be if your neighbours had a load of cute piggies out the front? Just me? OK.

8. Running Cows Through The Streets During The Day

Although this rule in particular is from the Metropolitan Streets Act of 1867 I feel like it's held up pretty well. The law states that "no cows may be driven down the roadway between the hours of 10a.m. and 7p.m."

I'm not being funny but that's incorporating rush hour? Yeah I'm glad nobody is engaging in any bovine parades during my trek home from work.

There are exceptions though, and you can have your cows on the streets if you receive prior approval from the Commissioner of the Police. Just try to avoid it if you can.

9. Letting Your Dog Mate With A Royal's Dogs Without Permission

Dave J Hogan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Although I'm fairly sure that you're not going to bump into any royal highnesses on your morning amble. What should you do if you happen upon a Windsor and your dog isn't neutered or spayed? Get it on the darn lead, especially if yours is hot for Corgis.

According to the Daily Mail, it's an offence for your pet to mate with a pet from the royal house without asking permission first.

Guys this law once led to actual executions. Gulp. However now you'd probably just get a fine, an uphill custody battle, and a pretty lit story to tell the grandkids.

All that considered, there's no excuse to go breaking the law with your pets this weekend. Best cancel that booze and cow riding date I had planned.