Pet owners reined in by conduct code




The cats will already have figured out that under the government's new code of conduct for pet owners the rule "create a suitable environment for your pet to live in" should mean extra sardines and access to the duvet pile in the airing cupboard.

An eight-week consultation period, on codes of conduct for owners of cats, dogs and horses, was introduced yesterday by the environment secretary, Hilary Benn, who said the guidance gave practical advice on how people should meet their responsibilities under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.

"This means no one will be able to claim ignorance as an excuse for mistreating an animal," he noted.

Although there are no fines suggested for breaking the code, which will be published as leaflets after the consultation, guidance breaches could be used as evidence in prosecution cases dealing with cruelty to animals.

Convictions fell by a fifth in 2006, the most recent year for complete statistics, but there was a sharp increase in complaints investigated, and in reported cruelty against horses. There were almost 1,700 convictions, including many for what the RSPCA called "shocking" cruelty.

The codes advise not just on food and housing; readers learn about likes and dislikes. The cat code alone runs to 26 pages and notes that felines need "entertainment and mental stimulation", that given their climbing nature they might need access to high shelves, and that they are solitary by nature.

Dogs, as pack animals, need company, while donkeys "have particular socialisation needs and can ... become ill if separated from a companion".

breach – naruszenie, niespełnienie

conviction – skazanie, zasądzenie kary

duvet – kołdra

feline – kot, zwierzę z rodziny kotów

mistreat – źle traktować

pile – sterta, stos

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