The Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into force on the 27th March 2007 in Wales and the 6th April 2007 in England.
The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 came into force in October 2006.
The Acts also cover the sale of animals to people under 16 years, dog fighting, tail docking and more.
Until recently animal welfare legislation meant that prosecution was only able to be made when actual cruelty or suffering was experienced. These Acts strengthen penalties for anyone convicted of an animal welfare offence, as well as giving law enforcement agencies the power to take action to prevent animal suffering before it has a chance to occur.
The RSPCA & SSPCA in Scotland are the only organisation that are able to prosecute owners and remove animals if they are being mistreated.
If you know of any pet that is being mistreated Please call the RSPCA 24 hour national cruelty and advice line on 0300 1234 999 or the Scottish SPCA on 0870 73 77722.
For full infomation on the Law & your pet – http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/domestic/dogs.htm