Where to find free & low-cost legal help for pets can be difficult, and it does not help that the Dangerous Dogs Act is one of the most silly pieces of legislation ever, ask any vet or animal welfare expert. But if you need some legal help, here are some good resources. Also read how to help prevent dog bites & attacks.
- Blue Cross lists all the dog laws you should know (barking, keeping dogs safe near livestock, biting etc). Read this book to keep your safe and how to train your dog with kindness (this and not keeping dogs bored and locked up helps to stop barking).
- Most issues concern the Dangerous Dogs Act, dogs biting people (like postmen) and barking. Barking dogs often are due to bored dogs, so keep dogs well-exercised. If your dog does not like the postman, use a letterbox guard and keep dogs in a closed room, when the postman visits, and don’t leave gates open.
- For other issues (like breed legislation), contact Dog Law (run by the ‘St Francis of Assisi’ of dog lawyers). He also runs Dog SOS, a membership site where you can get free advice and discounts on services, if needed. DDA Watch is a free confidential helpline.
- Advocates for Animals is a new organisation run by lawyers, specialising in animal welfare. It’s been set up by two solicitors with vast combined experience in animal protection law, (all lawyers and students can find helpful information at A-law).
- Animals & Society Institute runs AniCare, which trains probation officers to stop animal abuse. It has manuals for both adults and children (include those who have witnessed animal abuse). Studies show that nearly all serial killers have a history of animal abuse
Legal Help (pets & Domestic Abuse)
See the post on how to help stop domestic abuse for more info and help. Many pets also suffer and some victims don’t leave, as they can’t take their pets. If you can, get your paperwork in order, to you ‘own’ the pet. That way, you can legally take pets with you. If not possible, call the police or RSPCA and know how to cover your tracks online.
These charities can help, by fostering pets if you have left a domestic abuse situation. Pets stay at an undisclosed address (usually in a different area) until you sort yourself out. You don’t see the pets, but are kept updated:
- Dog’s Trust Freedom Project
- Cats Protection Paws Protect
- Refuge 4 Pets (Devon & Cornwall)
- Endeavour Project (north west)
- Equation (Nottinghamshire)
- Pet Fostering Service Scotland
- The Links Group
Starting a Safe Havens Animal Program (PDF) is a free downloadable guide by a major US animal welfare charity. This excellent resource covers everything you need to know, and includes sample forms you can adapt, with help.
In the USA, Animal Legal Defense Fund is run by and for lawyers and law students, and can also help with prosecution cases and campaigning for tougher animal welfare laws. It also links to lawyers that can help with personal cases. In Australia, Lawyers for Animals run an animal law clinic.