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Petition Make it an offence to hit a cat and drive off

Make it an offence to drive off after hitting a cat

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I have had 2 of my cats hit by drivers who just drove off and left them to die , they are my babies , I think drivers should be made accountable, they may just be cats , but to me they are my children , it was lack of attention that caused them to hit them , if it had been a child there would be hopefully a prosecution , I want the law changed

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Government responded

This response was given on 7 September 2021

The Government has no plans to make it an offence to drive off after hitting a cat. A focus for this Government is to make roads safer for all users, which will in turn reduce the risk to all animals.

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Under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a driver is required to stop and report an accident involving specified animals including horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep, pigs, goats or dogs, but not cats or wild animals. This requirement arises from their status as working animals rather than as domestic pets. To introduce such a measure within the provision of section 170, would require primary legislation.

Having a law making it a requirement to report road accidents involving cats would be very difficult to enforce and we have reservations about the difference it would make to the behaviour of drivers, who are aware that they have run over a cat and do not report it.

Although there is no obligation to report all animal deaths on roads, Rule 286 of The Highway Code advises drivers to report any accident involving an animal to the police, and if possible, they should make enquiries to ascertain the owner of domestic animals, such as cats, and advise them of the situation.

The Government recognises how distressing it can be for an owner to lose a pet and not to know what has happened. We committed in our Manifesto to introduce compulsory cat microchipping and recently held a public consultation on cat and dog microchipping and scanning in England; this included questions about scanning of dead cats and dogs by local authorities. We are analysing the responses and will issue our response later this year.

Department for Transport

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