My last experience of a dog licence was when they cost 37.5p and that was a long time ago, as they were abolished in 1987.
We had just rescued a puppy running in the road on the streets of Bolton. We took him to the police station, no one had reported him missing, and we were told we could have him if we wanted him, and they would give us a licence waiver (I guess in case his rightful owners ever claimed him). No one did ever claim him and Steve stayed with us well into his teenage years until his natural end.
At the time of abolition, one argument was that it cost more to administer a licence than the revenue gained from it, but now the idea is being mooted again (of course, not costing 37.5p).
In a recent survey by leading animal healthcare brand Johnson’s Veterinary Products into the purchasing habits of pet owners, a surprising 70% of pet owners in the South West said they would be willing to pay for a dog licence if they were reintroduced by the Government.
These regional statistics reveal overwhelming support with a further 35% feeling the reintroduction of licences would deter unsuitable dog owners, and 18% believing it would encourage better standards and training, which would hopefully protect the public from irresponsible owners and unpredictable pets.
The survey, which sought to identify the factors that influence buying decisions when owners seek healthcare products for their pets, comes at an interesting time following calls for greater safeguarding surrounding dog ownership in the aftermath of recent serious dog-related injuries to owners and members of the public.
The decision to reintroduce dog licences would not be without its critics at a time of economic uncertainty, but it will undoubtedly pique the interest of those in both central and local government.
Paul Gwynn, Managing Director of Johnsons Veterinary Products, commented: “This willingness to pay for a dog licence was a surprising response, but perhaps signals that recent high-profile dog attacks have changed the thinking of the majority of responsible dog owners.
“Whilst serious incidents involving dog attacks remain rare, each one is a tragedy and it feels like more could be done to reduce the risks. Dog owners understand the need to train and socialise their dogs, but a willingness to buy a licence in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, whilst a surprise, readily demonstrates the importance they place on regulation of dog ownership.
“The findings of the survey make interesting reading for those with the best interests of ‘man’s best friend’ to heart, with those polled believing the reintroduction of licences would deliver significant safety and regulatory benefits, albeit at a cost of more than £23 per dog, per year.
“Although not an issue discussed at the highest levels, it is likely the Government will see this as an opportunity to raise significant funds that can be redistributed to address high-profile issues, not all of which will necessarily be dog-related.
“With there being an estimated 13 million pet dogs in the UK as of 2021, given that nationally, 71% of those questioned would be willing to pay an average of £38 per animal, the reintroduction of dog licences could raise more than £475M.”
Yay or nay to log licences? Have your say.