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Docked Tails and the Law

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 2 May 2013 | comments*Discuss
Docking Tails Fox Hunting Uk Animal

For many hundreds of years the tails of over fifty breeds of dogs in the UK have been customarily docked, This all stopped on the 6th April 2007 (31st March 2007 in Wales) with the Animal Welfare Act coming into force. Since then there has been much confusion for dog owners, breeders and exhibitors and they try to make sense of this nonsensical piece of legislation.

Exemptions From the Law

There are exemptions from this new law and this is where the confusion lays. If a breeder can prove that the puppies they are breeding are working dogs they will be able to arrange for a vet to dock the tails within a few days of birth. Finding a vet to carry out this practise is another concern.

Council of Docked Breeds

Many breeders were members of the council of Docked Breeds and relied upon this organisation to find a vet who would carry out the docking process. It is illegal for a layperson (breeder) to dock the tails of puppies. This service is no longer available as with docking being banned most exhibitors have no use of the CDB and have sadly ceased being members. The hard core protestors are still working with the CDB to protest against the ban.

No dog that was bred after the above dates either home or overseas will be eligible to compete in any dog show in England or Wales where the public pays an entrance fee. This does not include dogs that attend for demonstration purposes. Dogs will still be able to exhibit in Scotland and Northern Ireland as there the laws were interpreted differently. The gate fees at Crufts are part of a large profit the Kennel Club gains from Crufts each year. They are not going to give free entry to the viewing public so dog entries will be lower in the few breeds that can still retain the right to dock tails.

Loss of Breeds

The biggest loss due to the enforcement of the docking ban is to the breeds that were customarily docked. Many old time breeders have decided to cease breeding from their stock and it will be the death knell to many excellent blood lines in many breeds.

Politicians both home and in Europe plus the non dog owning public have given their views on the emotive subject of tail docking which will change the face of dog breeding and exhibiting in this country beyond recognition. There is hope that with a future change of government the subject will be reviewed.

For anyone owning a breed where the puppies can still be docked they will have to not only prove why they can dock the tails but get signed documentation from the vets carrying out the service.

Get the Right Advise

The new laws are very complex and many dog owners are finding them confusing. For anyone contemplating a purchase of a dog for exhibition that can still be docked for working purposes it is advisable to contact the Kennel Club, The Countryside Alliance or the breed clubs available for the chosen breed. It is important to do this in order to verify that the dog can be shown in the UK.

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