Responsible dog ownership

Find out how you can be a responsible dog owner including clearing up after your dog and getting it microchipped.

How to be a responsible dog owner

As a responsible dog owner you should: 

  • always carry bags when walking your dog and give a supply to anyone walking your dog 
  • remove your dog’s poo immediately and bin it or take it home – don’t leave bagged-up poo on a path or branch as you’re still committing an offence 
  • check if you use a dog walker that takes your dog into their home in return for payment that they have a home boarding licence 
  • keep your dog under control at all times and out of children’s play areas – keep it on a lead near roads, sports pitches and areas used by the public 
  • keep a dog showing signs of aggression on a lead and muzzled in public places  
  • watch your dog at all times when walking it 
  • worm your dog regularly 
  • not let your dog stray and if it does you should report it to us immediately 
  • neuter your dog to prevent unwanted puppies and to reduce the likelihood of straying 
  • check if using a dog walker in the Harrogate area that they have signed up to Harrogate’s professional dog walkers voluntary code of conduct

Microchipping your dog

To ensure you comply with the law under the Control of Dogs Act 1992 and help you get your dog back should it become lost you must: 

  • get your dog microchipped - your contact details must be up-to-date by the time the dog is eight weeks old 
  • ensure your dog also wears a collar with a tag which has your name and address on it in public places 

Please remember that if any of your details change, such as your phone number, home address or email address, you must update your dog’s microchip information by contacting your microchipping database service directly. If you don’t have your chip number ask your vet to scan it for you.  

A list of microchip databases can be found on the Dogs Trust website

Accumulations of dog faeces in your garden

It is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to allow large quantities of dog faeces to build up in your garden as it can be unpleasant for your neighbours. 

Small amounts of dog faeces can be disposed of in domestic waste as long as they are sealed in a plastic bag. 

Failure to clean up large amounts of dog faeces from your garden could result in an abatement notice being issued to ensure your garden is kept clean. Should you not comply with this notice it may lead to prosecution.  

Noisy and barking dogs

It’s normal and natural for dogs to bark. It can however be annoying and upsetting to your neighbours when it happens a lot. 

For information about dealing with noisy and barking dogs, including reporting a dog barking issue, visit our report a noise problem page.

How we encourage and enforce responsible dog ownership

These are some of the ways we keep the region clear of dog fouling and stray dogs: 

  • we regularly clean up badly fouled public areas and streets and maintain dog waste bins and litter bins 
  • enforcement officers regularly patrol areas to provide a visible deterrent and issue penalty notices to dog walkers who don’t pick up after their dog – we will pursue anyone who does not pay the penalty notice through the courts and seek the maximum penalty of £1,000 
  • dog fouling enforcement signs have been placed on lamp posts throughout the region 
  • dog poo posters are targeted at areas where dog walkers make the effort to pick up but fail to put the bag in the bin or take it home with them 
  • we seize unattended dogs wandering an area 
  • local bag events – these events are used to raise the profile of fouling in local public areas with officers giving out advice and handing out free poo bags 
  • educating the community – our dog wardens are keen to meet with local groups and schools to share experiences and discuss responsible dog ownership 
  • leaflet drops – dog wardens provide people with information on dog fouling and how to report offenders

XL Bully dogs

The Government has added XL Bully dogs to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. From 31 December 2023 it will be against the law to:

  • sell an XL Bully dog
  • abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray
  • give away an XL Bully dog
  • breed from an XL Bully dog
  • have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless your dog has a Certificate of Exemption.

You can find out more information about the XL Bully dog ban on the UK Government website.