Exempt Dogs – The Rules About Insurance

One of the conditions of exemption is that the registered keeper of an exempted dog must have a policy of third party insurance in place for the rest of the dog’s life and that they must provide DEFRA with evidence of that insurance every time it is renewed. In March 2013, Merseyside Police ran an enforcement campaign that resulted in 27 dogs being seized from their families and immediately killed. We challenged that decision and successfully demonstrated that summary execution was not lawful and the government subsequently changed the rules.

The rules are that if you are the registered keeper of an exempted dog you must:

  • keep third party insurance in force throughout the life of your dog – this can be obtained as part of the membership of the Dogs Trust for £25 per year– call 0207 837 0006 for details. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 0900 and 1700;
  • advise the [email protected] every time you renew that insurance by sending them a copy of the insurance certificate. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of the email and set your system to provide a receipt;
  • be able to produce your certificate and your exemption certificate within five days of being asked to do so – ideally, you should be able to produce both those documents straight away.

If you cannot prove your dog is insured the exemption lapses and the insurance details do not show on DEFRA’s database your dog will be seized and you could be prosecuted for being in possession of a prohibited dog. Alternatively, the police can apply for a destruction order in civil proceedings. In either case, it is likely that they will argue that by allowing your dog’s insurance to lapse you are not a fit and proper person to be in charge of the dog and your dog could be destroyed.

If you have any doubts that your insurance might not be up to date check, check no and make sure you renew the policy immediately. If your dog is seized we can help. Please call us on 0151 480 4061.