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Wildlife and animal crime can be a complex area to understand.
To find out what wildlife crime is, go to our wildlife crime page.
Crimes involving animals that aren’t wildlife crimes, include:
Livestock worrying is a criminal offence and comes under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953.
‘Worrying’ is where a dog attacks or chases livestock causing injury or suffering.
This isn’t just a threat to a farmer or land owner’s livelihood, it’s also a dangerous situation for the animals involved, and could lead to more risk if the animals get onto the road.
A farmer is allowed to kill the dog if it’s worrying their livestock.
Always keep your dog under control around other animals and if you see a dog on the loose worrying animals, report it online.
Grazing animals can be an easy target especially in remote rural locations.
Remember, a horse passport is a legal requirement. You can find out how to apply for a horse passport.
Report livestock theft online.
Hunting includes the chasing, capturing or killing of animals and birds.
Not all hunting is a crime, but there are many different laws to protect the different species of animals and birds. These laws cover things like:
Many animals are also protected by law, meaning it’s illegal to hunt them at any time unless you have special exemptions.
If you’re planning to go hunting, it’s important to know what is legal and not.
Find out more:
Illegal huntingTypes of illegal hunting
Animal cruelty is when someone doesn’t care for or deliberately hurts an animal.
It can include anything from physical violence, to deliberate mental distress or neglect, for example not feeding or cleaning an animal.
If you see, or suspect, that a person may be treating an animal badly, whether this is physical violence, neglect or any other form of cruelty, you should report this to the RSPCA.
We work with the RSPCA to investigate cases of animal cruelty.
If your partner, ex-partner or a family member has harmed or threatened to harm your pet, this can be a form of domestic abuse. Find out more about animal cruelty and domestic abuse.
It’s an offence to let a dog be dangerously out of control whether that’s in public or private.
A dog is considered to be out of control if it:
A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if:
Please note, a farmer is allowed to kill your dog if it’s worrying their livestock.
If you see a dog loose, please report this online.
If the dog seems to be out of control, let us know by calling 101.
In the UK, it’s against the law to own certain types of dog. These are the:
It’s also against the law to:
Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.
You can find more information about banned dogs.
If you think someone has or is breeding banned dogs, please report it online.
Find more information and services covering animals and pets:
Before you report a dog theft to us, please make sure it hasn’t:
If you think your dog has been stolen you can:
Be ready to give us as much information as you can, including:
You should also:
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