Major hit and run driving law change regarding cats may be introduced

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Experts from are supporting a campaign for the law to be changed to give cats the same rights as many other animals when it comes to road traffic accidents. Currently, drivers must stop and inform police if they hit dogs, horses, cattle, pigs, goats and sheep – but not cats.

Many cat owners are left wondering what’s happened to their beloved pets if they’ve been run over by a driver, as it’s not a legal requirement to go to the police or track down the owner.

Recently one pet owner who lost her cat to a hit-and-run incident reached 100,000 signatures on a petition to change the law and was debated in parliament, but there are no current plans to make it an offence.

A spokesman said cats deserved the same protection in law as dogs and other pets and called on the Government to show compassion to their devoted owners.

Tim Alcock from added: “We’re calling for changes to be made to the law to make it a legal requirement for motorists to report to police if they’ve run over a cat.

“Along with this change, we believe it’s right to introduce a fine of up to £1,000 for any motorists who don’t comply and simply leave a cat on the roadside without reporting the incident.

“It was shocking to discover that it’s not a legal requirement for motorists to report whether they’ve run over cats, but it was even more surprising that the law covers various animals but excludes one of the most popular pets in Britain.

“It’s not uncommon to see a poster for a missing cat on a lamp post or in a shop window and in many cases, the missing pet will have been the victim of a road accident but as the law stands there’s no requirement for the owner to even be informed.

“It’s heartbreaking to lose a cat, for many they’re a member of the family, which is why we want to support the change in the law to show their importance.

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“It simply isn’t right that cat owners are left in this terrible vacuum of grief when their beloved pet disappears without warning.

“The fact that anyone would want to leave a defenceless animal on the side of the road is appalling and not having a law in place can make people assume it’s fine for this to continue.

“It’s not fair to our beloved pets to have the law unchanged, we want no cat to be left behind injured or dead at the side of the road.”

The news comes after it was revealed that drivers could face £5,000 fines and nine penalty points when travelling with dogs. 

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The Highway Code states that dogs must be restrained with a seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard, so they cannot distract the driver or cause injuries to themselves or others in the car.

In the worst-case scenario, if there’s a car crash and the airbags activate, then it may cause serious injuries to the dog if they’ve been left to roam free in the vehicle.

Drivers breaching the rule are deemed to be driving carelessly which means that they can be hit with three to nine penalty points and receive a fine of £1,000 that can go up to £5,000 if taken to court. CEO and founder Greg Wilson said: “In addition to avoiding financial penalties, it’s critical to know the rules of the road in order to keep everyone safe.

“Although many motorists perceive nothing wrong with letting their four-legged companions roam freely inside the vehicle and stick their heads out the window, doing so can actually endanger the pup’s life.

“Every pet owner must make sure their pup is well looked after and restrained appropriately when travelling in a car, obeying the rules of the Highway Code, or risk invalidating both their car and pet insurance – leaving them unprotected should they need to make a claim.”

The safest way to restrain dogs is to use a crate, travel harness, carrier or a boot gate/dog guard.

Dog owners can choose a solution that’s most suitable for their pet and install it to the vehicle.

You can read more about tips for travelling with dogs here

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