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Cats and the Law Guide Published

13 October 2014

UK - The Cat Group has published a new guide summarising current law relating to cats.

The booklet Cats and the Law - a plain English guide aims to give owners advice on the keeping and care of a cat and clarify legal issues such as the sale or theft of cats and damage either caused by or caused to a cat.

Authored by Dr Angus Nurse, senior lecturer in criminology at Middlesex University School of Law, and Diane Ryland, senior lecturer at the Law School at the University of Lincoln, the guide covers current law, primarily the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and its introduction of a positive obligation to promote and observe animal welfare in companion animals.

There is also a 'frequently asked questions' section providing answers around cats and their legal status, that should be of use and interest to all owners, breeders and re-homers.

Claire Bessant, chief executive of International Cat Care, which founded and acts as secretariat for the Cat Group says: "Questions regarding the legal status of cats and what people can and cannot do in different circumstances have arisen in Cat Group meetings for many years.

"There are lots of grey areas where individuals and organisations want to understand what can be done, how they can act and where they stand according to the law. In some cases there is no definite answer, but the guide helps to outline what law is appropriate in different circumstances and how to think logically about what can be done. It is a highly valuable addition to our knowledge."

Dr Angus Nurse says the guide also shows how UK animal welfare law has changed to require a positive approach to animal welfare not just the outlawing of acts of cruelty.

"The Animal Welfare Act 2006 promotes good standards of animal care for all companion animals and a responsible approach to sharing a home with a feline companion. It requires that those responsible for a cat must consider the welfare of each individual cat.

"Arguably it represents an end to a ‘standard’ approach to animal care and ushers in an era of informed, responsible animal care backed up by solid enforcement provisions."

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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