Your Legal Responsibilities
As the owner of a cat, kitten or any other animal, as a pet or for breeding purposes, you have responsibilities under the law for its welfare. The Animal Welfare Act
specifies those responsibilities.
What is the Animal Welfare Act?
The Animal Welfare Act received Royal Assent on 8 November 2006 and came into effect in England and Wales on 6 April 2007. The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 was passed in October. These laws represented the biggest change in Animal Welfare Law for nearly 100 years and CP wholeheartedly welcomes the new legislation.
So what does it do?
Until the act came into effect, those responsible for pets could only be prosecuted for cruelty once cruelty had occurred. The new laws introduced, for the first time, a legal duty on pet owners to provide for all of their pet’s needs, including:
- A proper diet (food and water)
- Somewhere suitable to live
- Addressing any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
- The opportunity to express normal behaviour
- Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease
The laws also increase the penalties for those who commit the most serious offences of cruelty against animals.
Other laws affect the ownership and care of cats. Cats Protection publishes an essential guide
leaflet on the topic that is well worth the read.