Gary Rycroft column


Readers following me on Twitter will be aware of recent changes to the domestic life of Legal Seagull in that we now have a dog.

He’s called Jake and acquiring him was a big decision, not least because of the legal minefield you enter when you become a dog owner.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, owners have a “duty of care” to dogs to provide amongst other things, a suitable environment, a suitable diet and to protect them from pain and suffering. Owners who do not comply are liable to be banned from keeping animals and a fine of up to £20k.

The good news is that Jake seems happy with his accommodation so far, but I don’t want some dodgy claims handling firm to offer him “no win no fee” so I’d best make sure he stays that way.

Jake hasn’t had all his vaccinations yet, so is not going out further than our back garden at present, but when he is ready to go out best not forget The Control of Dogs Order 1992, under which all dogs (with some minor exceptions) outside must wear a collar and have a tag with the owners a name and address inscribed thereon.

Which leads to the question of where Jake can go once he’s ready to venture out. Not everywhere is the answer. Under The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Dogs Exclusion (Lancaster City Council) Order 2012 dogs in our district are banned from enclosed children’s play areas, enclosed sports pitches and Happy Mount Park Splash Pool.

Other public spaces are fine for dog walking, but in some he will by law have to be kept on a lead. Examples of where are the public highway and footpaths, Morecambe Prom, the pedestrianised centres of Lancaster and Morecambe and of course parks and cemeteries.