Pets & Responsible Pet Ownership
We recognise the huge value that having a pet can hold for people and we feel that it is important to promote responsible pet ownership.
This page aims to provide guidance and advice to those thinking about adding a pet to their family and also to give an overview of our policy on keeping animals.
Conditions for keeping a pet
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, owners are responsible for their pet’s welfare. It is expected, without question, that owners of pets will act responsibly in relation to the welfare of their animal, other members of the household, visitors, the surrounding community and themselves.
In addition to this, SCDC expects the following from all pet owners:
- Tenants will only keep the numbers of pets that we have been informed of
- animals should remain well behaved and not cause a nuisance or any ASB to the community
- all dogs will be appropriately microchipped as outlined in The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015
- all dogs in a public place must wear a collar that displays their owner’s address and postcode as outlined in the Control of Dogs Order 1992
- we recommend that owners strongly consider microchipping their cat(s) which can increase the chance of the pet being returned if lost or stolen
- dogs will be walked on a lead whilst in built-up areas and on schemes
- no breeding or sale of animals from an SCDC property
- boarding kennels may not be run from an SCDC property
- tenants will be responsible for their pet’s behaviour
- must not allow their pets to cause damage to anyone’s property, including their own home
- any damage caused by pets will be rectified and paid for by the owner
- ensuring any litter trays etc. are regularly cleared and cleaned
- pets and any litter trays will not be left or housed in communal areas (such as hutches etc. in stairwells)
- must not leave pets alone for long periods of time without adequate care arrangements in place
- any fouling by a pet will be cleared up straight away and properly disposed of
- animals will not be allowed to roam freely around communal areas
- tenants and leaseholders will be required to source and pay for any additional items that may be required to keep their pet safe and under control (e.g. additional fencing etc.)
- dogs should not be chained up
Permission and responsibilities
A tenant, anyone living at the property or any visitors, must not keep or bring into the area any breed of dog specified as dangerous in the ‘Dangerous Dogs Act 1991’ or any animals registered under the ‘Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976’ (unless a court order has exempted them).
The types of pets we generally would consider suitable to provide permission for include:
- Domestic dogs
- Domestic cats
- Non-venomous/poisonous reptiles, snakes, spiders or insects
We will assess each application individually but it is highly unlikely that we would grant permission for:
- Venomous animals
- farmyard animals
- wild animals
- banned animals (unless a court order has exempted them)
- cockerels are not allowed to be kept at an SCDC property
Responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act 2006
Section 9 of The Animal Welfare Act (2006) contains provisions to safeguard the welfare of animals. Pet owners have a legal responsibility to provide suitable care for their animals. The act outlines five welfare need areas that those responsible for an animal must ensure are met. They are:
- Need for suitable environment
- need for suitable diet
- need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
- need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury or disease
Defra provides codes of practice for meeting these needs, which can be read or downloaded from the gov.uk website.
Naturally active rabbits, need a big enough space for them to run, hop, dig, stand upright on their back legs (without touching the roof of the enclosure) and be able to comfortably stretch out. With this in mind, they should be given a large living space that is secure, dry and comfortable for them.
Animal welfare organisations state that a hutch is not enough. The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund recommend that a minimum area of 3m x 2m x 1m is suitable for a pair of average sized rabbits (whether they live indoors or outside).
They are social animals and not having another rabbit to interact with can cause negative effects. You should keep your rabbit with at least one other rabbit unless a qualified vet has stated otherwise (due to behavioural issues etc.).
If you are unsure, contact a vet or a qualified animal behavioural specialist for advice.
They also need a place to hide away as they can be very scared around predators like dogs, cats and birds etc.
In order to care for your rabbit properly we strongly advise you take a look at some of the leaflets available online from animal welfare organisations. These have a wealth of information and help provide you with the knowledge to provide your pet with a good quality of life.
Did you know? Rabbits have teeth that continue to grow all the time! Grass and hay help to wear them down.
Things to consider about keeping a pet...
The benefits of having a pet are undeniable and we recognise how exciting it can be. But pet ownership does come with significant responsibilities, so this section goes over a few things that should be thought about before committing to an animal:
- A pet requires both an investment of time and money
- being able to provide care for your animal for it’s entire life
- being able to meet the animal’s exercise needs
- being able to meet the animal’s emotional needs
- being able to properly train your pet and prevent any anti-social behaviour such as noise etc.
- really consider if your environment is suitable for the pet you would like. Can suitable care, shelter, food and water be supplied?
- providing regular treatments that are required, whether it be worming, de-flea or specific medication if prescribed by a vet
- vaccinations & neutering
- having options available to provide care for your pet whilst you are unable to (e.g. holidays, health etc.). This might be with family/friends or being able to afford to pay for kennels/cattery etc.
- your pet will be another life that you will be responsible for and you will need to factor them into your daily routine and any emergency plans that you have in place
- if you have children, will your pet be suitable? What is their temperament like?
- it is the law to ensure your dog has been microchipped.
Wearing a collar: Dogs in a public place have to wear a collar that displays their owner’s address and postcode. You do not need to put the dog’s name on there, in fact this isn’t recommended in case of theft as the dog may respond to it.
For full information please see Article 2 of the Control of Dogs Order 1992.
What our tenancy agreement says about pets...
Our tenancy agreement states that a tenant living in a house or a bungalow may get one domestic pet without obtaining permission from us.
However we do ask that you notify us so that we can maintain up to date records of your household.
If a tenant would like more than one animal, or they live in a flat or upper-maisonette, they should fill out our ‘Pet Permission Request Form’ before getting a pet. Of course we won’t unreasonably withhold permission but we will need to consider a number of areas before we can provide our approval. These may include (but are not limited to):
- The size of the property
- type of property
- location of the property
- type/breed of animal
- access to open spaces
As part of the tenancy agreement, all pet owners are required to ensure that their animal(s) do not a cause nuisance or any anti-social behaviour (ASB).
Microchipping and the law: It is the law to for every dog to be microchipped and registered with the relevant authorised databases in the United Kingdom. Some organisations offer free or reduced cost microchipping services.
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