Dog Tail Docking

Dog Tail Docking

The removal of a dog’s tail, or part of a dog’s tail, is known as ‘tail-docking’ and is an offence.
It is also an offence to take a dog to another non illegal area to have the tail docking procedure carried out. Any person convicted of illegal tail-docking of a dog could face a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and an unspecified fine.
Showing dogs with docked tails
It is an offence to show a dog, which had its tail docked at events where the exhibitor pays a fee or the public pays to enter.
This does not apply to dogs:  with their tails docked before 1 January 2013 shown only to demonstrate their working ability
Exceptions to the ban on tail-docking:
It is not illegal if the tail is removed:  by a vet for medical reasons:
to save a dog’s life when removal by a veterinary surgeon is not possible.
There is an exemption clause for dogs which may be used as working dogs in the future in connection with law enforcement, lawful pest control or lawful shooting of animals. In order for this exemption to be applied, the dog must be of one of the following breeds:
spaniel of any breed or combination of breeds
terrier of any breed or combination of breeds
any breed  used for hunting, or any combination of such breeds
any breed used for pointing, or any combination of such breeds
any breed used for retrieving, or any combination of such breeds
Tail Docking of Working Dogs Regulations 2012 (legislation.gov.uk website)
Certification process for tail-docking pups.

At the time the pup’s tail is being docked, the breeder and the veterinary surgeon must complete the certification process. The veterinary surgeon must receive evidence to decide if the pup meets the conditions to qualify as a potential future working dog.

The pup and its mother must be presented to the vet within five days of the pup’s birth. The docked pup must be microchipped at the same veterinary practice before it is eight weeks old.

Evidence needed for tail-docking pups
In order to have the pup’s tail docked by the vet, they must receive the following evidence within five days of the pup’s birth:
a statement from the owner or someone representing the owner stating that the dog is one of the breed specified above and likely to be used as a future working dog for work in connection with law enforcement, lawful pest control or lawful shooting of animals.
the dam (mother) of the dog, or a veterinary certificate confirming that the dam has died since giving birth
One of the following will also be required:
police identification
prison service identification
HMRC identification

evidence that the owner of the dog, or an agent or employee of the owner most likely to be using the dog, will be using the dog for work in connection with lawful pest control a gamekeeper

a land-occupier (or the land-occupier’s agent)
a person with shooting rights
a shoot organiser
a club official
a person engaged in lawful pest control
Buying a tail-docked dog
Any person who buys a pup, which was born in Northern Ireland on or after 1 January 2013 and has a docked tail, must obtain from the seller the fully completed certificate of docking which has been signed by the breeder and the veterinary surgeon who docked the pup’s tail. This is to confirm the pup was legally docked as a potential future working dog.

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