13 April 2007
From 6 April 2007 in England, and 28 March in Wales, the docking of dogs' tails is banned in England and Wales except for certain working dogs and where the procedure is required for the purposes of medical treatment. The docking of dogs' tails is banned in Scotland, without any exception for working dogs, under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 with effect from 30 April 2007.
Those veterinary surgeons who dock the tails of puppies in England and Wales will need to sign a certificate to say that certain evidence has been produced to show that the puppies are likely to be used for work in connection with certain activities, and to say that the dog is of a certain type. The certificate is available to download from the DEFRA website.
The tail must be docked when the puppy is not more than five days old. The puppy also needs to be microchipped before three months of age.
The RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct for veterinary surgeons will be updated shortly in the light of the changes to the legislation.