Dog Ownership and the Law

  • St Helena Police conduct education and awareness programme on common issues requiring Police attention
  • Different topics will be discussed each week
  • This week’s topic is Dog Ownership and the Law

St Helena Police are currently conducting an education and awareness programme for the local community on common issues that require Police attention. Each week a different topic will be aired on local radio stations, issued via information releases and posted on Social Media.

This week’s topic is Dog Ownership and the Law:

St Helena Police often have to deal with reports of dogs trespassing and general offences committed by dog owners. The following provides information on what you as either a dog owner or a member of the public can do should you be unsure of issues surrounding unsupervised dogs.

It’s not uncommon to see dogs roaming around St Helena while not on a leash or that are unsupervised by its owner or a responsible person.

All too often, dogs are let off their leash by their owners and left to roam around as a form of exercise while unattended. When you let your dog of a leash, you could well be committing an offence should your dog wander and you are not aware of their whereabouts or what they are doing while off their leash.

Again, while it’s such a simple decision to let your dog off its leash because of time constraints or otherwise, it is a law-breaking decision that comes with penalties and consequences:



Section 8. (1) The keeper, or any other person in charge of a dog, must ensure that, while in any public place or place to which the public has access, the dog at all times remains under the control of the person.

It is an offence for the person in charge of a dog to –

  • Fail to keep a dog under his or her control in any public place or place to which the public has access.

13 (2) It is an offence for the person in charge of a dog to –

(a) Fail to keep a dog under his or her control in any public place or place to which the public has access, as required by section 8(1);

(b) Allow the dog to be in any area designated under section 8(2) without it being kept on a leash

Penalty: A fine of £500.


7. (1) Any dog found trespassing upon any land may be impounded in any private pound or enclosure. A person who impounds an animal must within 48 hours give notice to the owner or to the Director of Police or to any public pound-keeper, of the animal so impounded with a description of the marking, if any, and may demand from the owner the sum of £10 for each day that the animal is lawfully detained. If the sum demanded is not paid the impounder may send the animal to any public pound.

If a dog kills, wounds or worries any domestic animal or poultry, the keeper of the dog commits an offence which carries a penalty of a fine of £150 for every animal that’s killed, wounded or worried.

The lawful occupier of any land, or any person acting with the occupier’s authority, may shoot or otherwise humanely destroy any dog found trespassing on the land and killing, wounding or worrying any domestic animal or poultry, without being responsible to the owner or keeper of the dog, or liable to an action at law or any other process.

Should you allow your dog to wander unsupervised off a leash, please bear in mind the following:

  • Your dog could be on public roads causing a nuisance and obstruction to motorists and other road users such as pedestrians and ultimately could be the cause of an accident
  • Your dog could be trespassing onto someone’s property causing a nuisance to the owner and occupiers
  • Your dog could be worrying livestock and other domestic animals which could leave you with a costly penalty.

When such incidents are reported to Police, an investigation may commence and you could find yourself being interviewed in relation to your decision to leave your dog unleashed. If charged with an offence, you could gain a conviction all because of an irresponsible decision you made.

Anyone who sees dogs roaming freely on their property or on public roads are asked to take a photo of the animal and present to Police to enable a prompt investigation into the offence to take place.

#StHelena #StHelenaPolice #DogOwnershipandTheLaw

18 May 2021

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470