Animal Welfare

Animal welfare

Animal Welfare Duty

For the first time in history, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 placed anyone responsible for an animal under a duty to ensure that the needs of that animal are met.  

These include:

  • Its need for a suitable environment.
  • Its need for a suitable diet.
  • Its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns.
  • Any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals.
  • Its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Codes of Practice

There are Codes of Practice to help people ensure the needs of their pets are met.  There are Codes of Practice for dogs, cats, horses (including ponies and donkeys etc) and primates.   While it is not an offence to not comply with a Code of Practice, they are used by our officers to determine whether the needs of an animal are being met.  They can also be used in courts as evidence.


There are two key offences under the Act.  The first relates to failing to ensure that the needs of an animal is met (s.9).  The second, and more serious offence, relates to unnecessary suffering (s.4). 

Council Inspectors

The Council has appointed some officers as Inspectors under the Act.  They have a range of powers to protect animals, including to enter and search premises, to seize evidence and animals, and to take any steps necessary to alleviate the suffering of an animal.  We deal with the welfare of pet animals and the County Council deal with the health and welfare of farmed animals.  

Contact Environmental Health

Telephone 01543 462621 or email

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