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With the recent introduction of the XL Bully dog ban, we have started to receive more queries from publicans enquiring into the laws surrounding permitting animals on to their premises.

Sadly, there is no one answer and whether you can allow animals into your premises depends on various factors, including the type of premises, local regulations, and health and safety considerations, etc.

To help you navigate your way through, we have added some useful guidance below:

Health & safety regulations

The primary concern regarding allowing animals into premises is ensuring health and safety standards. For premises serving food or beverages, such as pubs or restaurants, there are strict regulations regarding hygiene and food safety. Allowing animals may pose a risk of contamination, so it’s important to assess whether it’s feasible to maintain hygiene standards while accommodating animals.

Banned animals

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is a piece of UK legislation that primarily addresses concerns related to specific breeds of dogs deemed to be potentially dangerous. The act prohibits the ownership, breeding, sale, and exchange of certain types of dogs, such as XL Bullies, Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos, and Fila Brasileiros. The act also includes provisions related to attacks by dogs on people and other animals.

However, the Dangerous Dogs Act does not specifically address the presence of dogs in pubs or other public establishments. Whether dogs are allowed in the premises will largely be down to the premises discretion and local regulations.

Local regulations

Local authorities may have specific regulations regarding animals in public places. It’s essential to check with your local council to understand any restrictions or requirements related to allowing animals into your premises.

Disability discrimination laws

Under the Equality Act 2010, service providers, including pubs and other businesses, have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate individuals with disabilities. This may include allowing assistance dogs, such as guide dogs, into your premises. Refusing entry to assistance dogs could be considered disability discrimination.

Public safety

Public safety is one of the four licensing objectives that forms the basis of the Licensing Act, and as a responsible operator, it is essential that you are running the premises with this objective in mind. Therefore, when assessing the suitability of an animal on site, the safety of both your customers and your staff needs to be taken into consideration. Remember, you owe a duty of care to all those that are on site.

Customer preferences

Consider the preferences of your customers when deciding whether to allow animals into your premises. While some patrons may enjoy the presence of animals, others may be allergic or uncomfortable around them. Balancing these preferences is essential for maintaining a welcoming environment for all customers.

Pet-friendly policies

If you decide to allow animals into your premises, establish clear policies regarding which types of animals are permitted, where they are allowed within the premises, and any behavioural expectations for owners. Communicate these policies to staff and customers to ensure consistency and clarity.

Risk management

Assess any potential risks associated with allowing animals into your premises, such as hygiene concerns, allergies, or disruptions to other customers. Implement measures to mitigate these risks, such as regular cleaning and sanitation procedures and staff training on handling situations involving animals or pet-friendly zones.

Prohibiting pets

It is important to remember that a premises is privately owned property and as such as the owner or operator you have every legal right to set rules and policies regarding whether pets, including dogs, are allowed into your establishment. There is no legal requirement for pubs to allow pets on to their premises, however, please ensure that you take the Equality Act into consideration.

If you choose to prohibit pets from entering your pub, you can clearly communicate this policy to your patrons by posting signs at the entrance or including it on your website. It’s important to note that while you are within your right to prohibit pets, to avoid conflict and misunderstanding, it is advisable to handle any refusals of entry sensitively.

While it may be legally permissible to allow certain animals into your premises, it’s essential to consider health and safety regulations, local requirements, disability discrimination laws, customer preferences, and risk management factors before making a decision. Consulting with legal advisors and relevant authorities can help ensure compliance with any applicable laws and regulations.



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