PLEASE READ BEFORE PURCHASING A DOG OR PUPPY
The docking of dogs' tails has been banned in England since 6th April 2006 and in Wales since 28th March 2005. In England and Wales, tails can be removed by a vet for therapeutic reasons, and working dogs can be docked as puppies (five days old or under), if they are going to go on to work as adults, and provided documentary evidence is supplied in order to acquire the correct certification
In England the breeds eligible for exemption, if the pups are going on to work are : terriers, and their crossbreeds, spaniels and their crossbreeds and HPRs (Hunt, Point, Retrieve).
In Wales : crossbreeds of the following cannot be presented for tail docking even if intended for working.
Spaniels : English Springer Spaniels, Welsh Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels
To give exemption, the vet will have to certify that he or she has seen specific evidence that the dog is likely to work in specified areas. The dog must be microchipped so it can be identified. The type of evidence needed includes armed forces/emergency rescue/police/prison service/Revenue and Customs identification where the dog is presented for certification on behalf of these organisations, or, for other canine work, one of the following.
Terriers : JRTs, Cairn Terriers, Lakeland Terriers and Norfolk Terriers.
HPR breeds : Bracco Italiano, Brittany, German Longhaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Hungarian Vizla, Itialian Spinone, Korthals Griffon, Large Munsterlander, Small Munsterlander, Slovakian Rough Haired Pointer, Spanish Water Dog, and Weimaraner.
Evidence that the owner of the dog, or employee of the owner most likely to be using the dog will be using the dog for work in connection with lawful pest control.
A current shot gun or firearm certificate issued to the owner of the dog, or to the agent or employee of the owner most likely to be using the dog for work in connection with the lawful shooting of animals.
A letter from a gamekeeper, a land occupier (or his/her agent) a person with shooting rights, a shoot organiser, a club official, a person representing the National Working Terriers Federation, or a person engaged in lawful pest control, stating that the breeder of the dog whose tail is to be docked is known to him/her and that dogs bred by that breeder have been used (as the case may be) on his/her land, or in his/her shoot, or for pest control.
Dogs born after 6th April 2007 cannot be shown with docked tails at fee-paying shows in England and Wales but can be in Scotland.
In Scotland, docking except for therapeutic reasons has been banned since 30th April 2007. There are no working exemptions in Scotland. Dogs cannot cross borders to be docked. Section 20(3) of the Scottish Act says that it is an offence to take an animal from Scotland to have a prohibited procedure carried out. There is no similar restriction on taking animals out of England or Wales.
There is still ongoing consultation regarding docking in Northern Ireland; in the meantime, the law remains as it was in England and Wales before 2006; docking is legal, so long as it is carried out by a vet.
Under the regulations, it remains at the vet's discretion whether or not he/she will agree to dock a purported working litter.
Breaking the law in England and Wales will result in prosecution, a fine of £20,000, possible imprisonment and a ban from keeping animals, in Scotland, the penalty is a fine of up to £5,000 and/or six months' imprisonment.
Those who think they are acting legally by taking their dogs across the water to the Republic of Ireland to be docked should not be too smug, they are also risking prosecution, a test case brought by Pembrokeshire County Council brought the case to clarify the law banning the docking of puppy tails in the UK after a woman from Pembrokeshire took her Rottweiller pups to the Irish Republic for docking by a vet.
The puppies were later advertised on the internet as being legally docked. The case was considered as a point of law and the County Council Prosecutor contended that causing the act of docking was initiated in the UK and was therefore an offence within the juristiction of the court.
The woman was charged with three offences under the Animal Welfare Act.
The woman's solicitor maintained that because the deed was done in the Republic of Ireland it was outside UK law.
Magistrates decided that taking the pups abroad with the intention of having the tails removed was an illegal act. As a result the woman was found guilty and fined a total £6000. Costs of £400 were also awarded against her.
PLEASE REPORT ILLEGAL TAIL DOCKING
IF YOU SUSPECT THAT A LITTER OF PUPPIES OR A DOG HAS BEEN DOCKED ILLEGALLY CALL THE RSPCA CRUELTY AND ADVICE LINE ON 0870 5555 999
THE LOCAL AUTHORITY MAY ALSO DECIDE TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE BREEDER, AND THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF VETERINARY SURGEONS SHOULD BE INFORMED IF A VET HAS ILLEGALLY REMOVED A TAIL.