Pets

Below are examples of behaviour the Council regards as nuisance:

  • Roaming and unattended animals.
  • Pets fouling in communal areas and owners’ gardens that is not cleared up immediately.
  • Pets fouling in neighbours’ gardens.
  • Excessive noise.
  • Too many animals within a household.
  • Unpleasant pet smells.
  • Aggressive animals.

Remember you are responsible for your pet and their behaviour at all times. If your pet is causing a problem to a neighbour the most helpful thing you can do is to try and see things from their point of view. How would you feel if you lived next door to a dog which barks all the time, or your children came in from playing in a communal area with dog excrement on their shoes? If a neighbour approaches you with a problem then try to sort it out amicably.

If you feel you can, approach the owner and see if you can sort out the matter informally.

Here are some tips:

  • Take early action - don’t wait until the situation is unbearable and your patience has been exhausted before approaching the owner.
  • Try not to jump to conclusions - listen to the other person’s response and don’t make unfounded allegations.
  • Try to remain calm - do not shout or make abusive remarks and do not retaliate.
  • Walk away if you feel at risk or threatened. If you are not confident about approaching the owner then speak to your housing officer. In some cases the matter may be referred to our Anti-Social Behaviour Unit.

In the vast majority of cases we will try to resolve the issue informally after hearing both sides of the story. If this does not work then there are a number of more formal approaches we can take, including:

  • Arranging for a professional mediator to become involved.
  • Setting up a Good Neighbourhood Agreement if the issue affects a number of residents. This is a set of rules developed by tenants and residents describing what is acceptable behaviour for their area. Responsible pet ownership could form part of this Agreement.
  • Withdrawing permission to keep the animal.
  • Restricting the number of animals kept at a property.
  • Making responsible pet ownership part of an Acceptable Behaviour Contract. This is a formal contract signed by the person causing the problem, the Council and in some cases a third party, such as the Police.
  • Involving statutory organisations, such as the Police or the Council’s Environmental Health Unit.
  • Involving voluntary organisations, such as the RSPCA.
  • Serving an injunction telling the owner to either start or stop doing something or remove the animal.
  • Terminating the tenancy where tenancy conditions are breached.

If you suspect a neighbour is guilty of cruelty or neglect towards an animal or bird, you should report this to the RSPCA who will ask you some questions about the situation. You can do this by calling the confidential 24-hour National Cruelty and Advice Line on 0870 5555 999.

North Kesteven District Council’s policy on pet ownership says:

‘The Authority recognises the benefits that responsible pet ownership can bring. However, controls must be in place to prevent irresponsible pet ownership which can cause suffering to animals and a nuisance to neighbours.’

This page gives information to tenants who have either just moved into their council property or have lived there for some time with a pet or are now thinking about getting a pet. It will also be helpful for tenants who are having problems with a neighbour’s pet.

Please note you are responsible for your pets at all times.

North Kesteven District Council will give permission in most cases. However, certain types of pet are not permitted, including:

  • Farm animals - for example, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, and horses. 
  • Animals that should be licensed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 - a list of animals requiring a license under the Act can be found on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) website
  • Breed of dogs specified in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 - in 2006 the Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Braziliero and Japanese Tosa were included in this Act. Up to date information can be found on the DEFRA website

Permission may not be granted where there is an ongoing problem with pet ownership in the household or there has been a problem in the past.

We do not expect you to apply for permission to keep fish, small rodents or insects. However, you do need permission for most types of pets, including cats, dogs, reptiles, chickens, ducks or aviary birds. If you are in doubt, please ask your housing officer.

You will need to complete a Pet Agreement Form that will ask you to:

  • Provide details of the pet.
  • Agree to be fully responsible for it.
  • Make sure it does not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
  • Does the pet fit your lifestyle and family circumstances? Are you out a lot of the time or do you have young children in the household? 
  • Is your home suitable? Do you have easy access to garden areas, are you near a busy road, and is a flat suitable for the type of pet you want to keep? 
  • How much is it going cost? You can budget for some items, such as the initial cost of the pet and equipment, and also ongoing costs, including food and bedding. 
  • Can you afford unexpected costs, such as vets bills? 
  • Are you going to insure and/or microchip your pet? Both are advisable do cost money. 
  • What will happen to the pet if you are away from home, for example, on holiday? 
  • Health issues - where is the nearest vet who can care for your animal? This is particularly important if you have a more unusual or exotic pet. Also, will the pet need regular vaccinations? 
  • Are you planning to have your dog or cat neutered? Animal charities encourage this to reduce the number of unwanted pets. Small rodents, such as hamsters, can have 14 - 20 babies in a litter so you can have a population explosion on your hands if you don’t keep males and females apart. 
  • Is your choice of pet likely to cause a nuisance to neighbours? Most of us want to get on with our neighbours - it may be worth having a chat with them before you make a final decision. 
  • Are you committed to caring for your pet? 

Often it is not the type of pet that will cause a nuisance to neighbours, but the way you plan to care for and control it. With regards to dogs, they cannot be allowed to roam freely on communal areas - they must be walked on a lead. They also should not be left barking in the house or garden all day causing a noise nuisance problem. You need to think through these issues before taking on an animal.

Animal Welfare Act 2006 – Sections 4 and 9: Unnecessary suffering

A person commits an offence if an act of his, or a failure of his to act, causes an animal to suffer. It is the duty of person responsible for animal to ensure welfare

A person commits an offence if he does not take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which he is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice.

Animals Act 1971

If a dog worries livestock then it may be shot and the owner face criminal prosecution. It is the duty of owners to ensure that animals do not stray onto the road and cause injury or damage. The Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to have a dog without a lead on certain designated roads.

Dogs Act 1871

Courts can order that a dangerous dog be destroyed or the owner keep it under proper control. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 demands that owners of Pit Bull Terriers, Dogo Argentinos, Fila Brazilieros and Japanese Tosas comply with certain legal requirements. In addition, any dog dangerously out of control in a public place may be destroyed and the owner possibly given a six-month prison sentence or a maximum £5,000 fine.

Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried that it might injure them

A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:

  • 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 contact the Police for further information.

Control of Dogs Order 1992

Every dog, while in a public place, must wear a collar displaying the owner’s name and address.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

This gives the local authority the power to seize a stray dog and to hold it for seven days. After seven days the dog can be found another home, sold or destroyed.    

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005

This Act allows the Council to designate public areas where dogs must be kept on leads or excluded. It also gives the local authority powers to enforce dog fouling byelaws on public land. It is no defence for the owner to say they were unaware of the dog’s actions and the owner may be prosecuted or fined.