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Animal Welfare Act: 9 out of 10 pet owners don’t understand it

On 6 April, 2007, the Animal Welfare Act came into effect, yet 85% of pet owners in the UK say they are confused by it - or worse, have never heard of it. However, the team at Petplan, the world’s largest pet insurer, are trying to rectify the situation with an easy to understand guide to the Act.

The Act will clamp down on irresponsible pet owners and compel them to ensure that their animals have a proper diet and living space as well as veterinary care. It should have minimal effect on the majority of Britain’s animal-loving pet owners who are already providing loving homes for their pets, yet awareness of it remains low.

Access your plain English guide to new animal welfare laws as research reveals pet lovers are confused

A Petplan poll showed that just 17 per cent of those with pets said they had heard about the Act and knew something about it.

In an effort to demystify how the new laws will affect the average pet owner, Petplan has worked with celebrity vet Scott Miller to explain the general principles in plain English. A guide to the Act is available to download free of charge from petplan.co.uk

Scott, who is the regular vet on ITV’s This Morning, explained:

“The new law aims to bring in standards of acceptable care of pets and more severe punishments for those who fail to look after their animals. There is some debate around what this Act will mean to pet owners though so it is not surprising that some are confused about what the new laws will mean to them.”

As well as covering the requirements of basic care for the UK’s pets, the Act introduces harsh penalties for those involved in dog fighting. New measures such as up to one year in prison and/or up to £20,000 fines can also be given to those contravening the Act. A range of other measures, including the issuing of “improvement notices” to rectify concerns on how animals are being treated, will also be introduced.

Alison Andrew, Communi-cations Manager at Petplan, comments:

“We know that most pet owners in the UK try to provide the very best care for their animals. However, the Animal Welfare Act will clamp down on those who do not and will no longer accept that ignorance of the law is any defence. To help owners understand the changes coming in we have produced this free guide that puts the facts in an easy to understand way.”

As well as the website, pet owners can call 0845 678 1063 to request their copy.