Trespassing Dogs - Straying or Lost Dogs - Quarantine of Dogs - Cruelty towards Dogs Vivisection

Distress Damage Feasant

Trespassing animals may be seized and impounded to secure compensation for the damage done by them; therefore, a trespassing dog if doing damage to the property of the owners of the land, may be seized and distrained in this fashion, even when it is under the control of, and being used by the owner. (Distress damage feasant: the taking without recourse to any legal proceedings of an animal for the damage it has caused.)

Shooting A Dog

No one has a right to shoot a dog for trespassing. To justify the deed it must be shown that the dog was attacking someone, or that it was done for the protection of valuable property, such as cattle, sheep, or poultry.

It is no defence to a charge of malicious injury to a dog to show that it was trespassing at the time, unless it can be shown that the person accused of the offence genuinely believed that the act was necessary for the preservation of his property.

Man-traps and Spring-guns

The occupier of land is justified in setting dog-spears in his woods to protect his game, and he may also set traps, but not so as to tempt dogs to their destruction. Therefore, if he sets traps baited with strong meat so near a highway that dogs are irresistibly drawn to them, he will be liable for damages. Practically the days of man-traps and spring-guns are at an end, for, if a trespasser or other person were injured by them, the Person responsible for placing them there would render himself liable to five years' penal servitude.

Stray Dogs

Any dog found straying in a highway or place of public resort may be seized and detained by the police.. When the owner is known he must be served with a notice in writing of the seizure of his dog, stating that it is liable to be sold or destroyed if not claimed within seven days after service of the notice.

After Seven Days' Detention

After seven clear days, if the owner has not claimed the dog and paid all expenses, it may be sold or destroyed with as little pain as possible. It may not, however, be given or sold for the purposes of vivisection.

Keeping another Person's Dog

It is always an unwise thing to volunteer or to consent to look after and become responsible for the property of another person. Still, good-natured people will do these things without anticipating the amount of trouble and inconvenience to which they may be put by their action. A lady taking compassion on a cur which accompanied a hawker on his rounds foolishly consented to take care of the animal for an hour or so while its owner finished his rounds.

Two hours passed, and there was no sign of the hawker; the lady's husband returned for his dinner, and was much surprised to find a strange animal on his premises. Evening came, but still no hawker, and the lady passed a restless night wondering what had become of him.

The next morning, as the hawker still failed to appear, the husband solved the difficulty by fetching the nearest policeman, who waited until the dog had been turned out into the street, and then took it into custody as a stray. Had the dog continued to remain on the premises, the husband would have rendered himself liable to a summons from the Excise authorities for keeping a dog without a licence.

Register of Stray Dogs

A register must be kept of all stray dogs seized by the police, and when transferred to an establishment for the reception of stray dogs a register must be kept there also. The register is to contain a brief description of the dog, date of seizure, and manner in which it has been disposed of, and is to be open to the inspection of the public upon payment of one shilling. It is the duty of the police and other persons in charge of dogs so detained to feed and maintain them properly.

Finding Stray Dogs

Any person who finds a stray dog and shelters it must return it to its owner or give a description of the dog in writing to the police, stating where it was found and where it is being detained, under a penalty of 40s.

Mad Dogs

Local authorities have powers to make and vary orders placing restrictions on dogs not under control, if a mad dog or a dog suspected of being mad is found within their jurisdiction; and dogs found at large in contravention of the order may be treated as stray dogs. A diseased or suspected dog may be slaughtered by order of the local authority, and it is the duty of the owner of such a dog to give notice to the police.

Muzzling Of Dogs

Orders for prescribing and regulating the muzzling of dogs and the keeping of them under proper control may be made by the Board of Agriculture.

The Commissioner of Police may also issue a notice requiring any dog, while in the streets of the metropolis and not led, to be muzzled, and the police may detain dogs found loose in the street and unmuzzled, and sell or destroy them if not claimed within three clear days. But if the dog has a collar with an address on it, they must send a letter to the address, stating that the dog is in their possession.

Wearing Collars in Public Places

The muzzling order is not now in force, but every dog must wear a collar with the name and address of his owner inscribed on it whenever it is in any place to which the public have access. Dogs found without a collar may be treated as stray dogs, and their owners are liable to a penalty of 20.

Exceptions for Sporting Dogs

The regulations do not apply to any pack of hounds or to dogs while being used for sporting purposes or for the capture or destruction of vermin or for the driving or tending of cattle or sheep.

Dogs Imported from Abroad

No dog can be brought into this country from abroad unless a licence has been ob-tained from the Board of Agriculture..

Conditions will be attached to the grant of a licence, as to its being muzzled. etc.

Six Months' Detention

An imported dog must be isolated and detained for six months in the care of a certified veterinary surgeon at its owner's expense; if this is not done it may be a by an inspector of the Board, and if the owner does not claim the dog within ten days after the expiration of the period detention, and pay the expenses of its keep, the Board may destroy or dispose of it.


A licence is not required for a dog which is to be exported within forty-eight hours of its landing, or for a performing dog, or in respect of a dog brought from Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.


Not only may a penalty be inflicted upon the owner or person bringing the dog into this country, but also on the owner and master of the ship from which the dog is landed, the person in charge of the dog, the person landing the dog, and the person receiving it.

A person attempting to land a dog unlawfully can also be dealt with by the Custom officers for attempting to import forbidden goods, and the dog may be forfeited.

Dogs Drawing Carts

Dogs are not to be used for drawing carts or helping to draw any truck or barrow in any part of the United Kingdom, and any person so using them is liable to a fine.


It is an offence to ill-treat a domestic animal by beating, or otherwise torturing it, or by setting it on to fight, or by keeping a room or other place for the purpose of setting it on to fight, or to convey it in any vehicle in such a way as to cause it unnecessary pain. But it is no offence under the Act merely not to kill an animal in pain, although it is inhuman cruelty not to kill it. So where a man shot a dog trespassing in a garden, intending to kill it, but leaving it to die in pain aft. dragging it into the roadway, it was held that a conviction could not be sustained.


Painful experiments on living animals are unlawful, unless performed by a properly licensed person with a view to the advance-ment of knowledge and the alleviation of suffering. The animal is to be placed under an anaesthetic, and if it is seriously injured or is likely to feel pain when it recovers consciousness, it must be killed before the effect of the anaesthetic has worn off. The public exhibition of experiments is illegal and no experiments without using anaesthetics can be made without a special certificate.