Tara’s gone viral. Pictures of Tara, the cat, rescuing the little boy she lives with, when he was attacked by a dog, have been seen by millions of people. The incident highlights not only the bravery of Tara but also the need for dogs to be properly controlled.

This is particularly relevant at this time as, on May 13, amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act came into effect which have implications for dog owners. A key change is that before that date, it was an offence to own or be in charge of a dog that was dangerously out of control in a public place. Since that date, it has become an offence to own or be in charge of a dog that is dangerously out of control in any place - both public and private. This includes the owners’ house and garden.

It is important to realise that a dog does not have to bite to be deemed dangerously out of control. The changes are intended to protect workers who visit homes and also to encourage responsible pet ownership. What the changes mean for dog owners is explained by the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) on their website. Knowing that reputable animal welfare charities like NAWT understand the law relating to dogs and, importantly, assess the animals they rehome, builds confidence in getting a dog from them.           

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Stannis is a young lurcher waiting for a home with NAWT. He likes lots of fuss and enjoys meeting new people. He will make a great companion for an active owner. I’ve walked him this morning - twice - because I could not resist taking him a second time. If you can home Stannis, call 020 8950 0177 or see him at Tylers Way, Watford-by-Pass WD25 8WT.

Don’t forget Dogs Trust is holding their Summer Open Day and Fun Dog Show on Sunday June 1. This is a major event so, if you can, get there early. It takes place from 10.30am to 4pm at Harvil Road, Harefield UB9 6JW.