Animal cruelty is when someone doesn’t care for or deliberately hurts an animal.
It can include anything from physical violence, to deliberate mental distress or neglect, for example not feeding or cleaning an animal.
If you see, or suspect, that a person may be treating an animal badly, whether this is physical violence, neglect or any other form of cruelty, you should report this to the RSPCA’s 24-hour cruelty line.
You can contact them on 0300 1234 999. The call will cost the same as any call to a UK landline number.
We work with the RSPCA to investigate cases of animal cruelty.
Dogs out of control in public places
It’s an offence to let a dog be dangerously out of control whether that’s in public or private.
A dog is considered to be out of control if it:
makes someone worried that it might injure them
A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if:
it attacks someone’s animal
the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal
Please note, a farmer is allowed to kill your dog if it’s worrying their livestock.
If you see a dog loose or seemingly out of control, please tell us by calling 101.
In the UK, it’s against the law to own certain types of dog. These are the:
Pit Bull Terrier
It’s also against the law to:
sell a banned dog
abandon a banned dog
give away a banned dog
breed from a banned dog
Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.
You can find more information about banned dogs here.
If you think someone has or is breeding banned dogs, please report it to us, either online or by calling 101.
Find more information and services covering animals and pets: