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Owning and caring for a pet can be a source of great enjoyment, but you should be aware that pet ownership is a major responsibility. As a pet owner in the UK, you must comply with the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which states that:

 “you must take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which you are responsible are met, to the extent required by good practice

If the standards of animal care do not meet the standards set out in the Animal Welfare Act, you may be liable to prosecution for animal cruelty or failing to meet an animals needs.

It is up to you to find out what your pet’s precise needs are and how to meet them. Guidance can be found in the DEFRA codes of practice for the keeping of dogs and cats. You should think carefully about all factors that will affect your ability to care for a pet and whether a pet is suitable for you. Would you be able to provide for all of the pet’s needs as set out in the DEFRA codes of practice?

You will need to consider the size of your property and the financial and time implications of having a pet and its exercise needs. Caring for a pet can be expensive and you should consider whether, for instance, you would be able to afford the cost of routine and unexpected veterinary treatment, or the cost of pet health insurance. There is no one “perfect” way to care for any pet because every pet, and every situation, is different but they all have the same needs.

Pet Ownership / Legal Responsibilities: Service
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