Petition Make it a legal requirement for drivers to stop & report collisions with cats

Amend legislation to make it a legal requirement for a driver to stop & report accidents involving cats.

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The impact on a persons' mental health when their cat is hit by a car can be profound and devastating, and cat owners should be entitled to the same due process afforded to dog owners.

Under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a driver is required to stop & report accidents involving specific animals including dogs, but not cats. This requirement arises from their status as working animals rather than as domestic pets, but many dogs are pets, not working animals.

Motorists should be required to report collisions with cats in the same way as collisions with dogs, so that the cat's owners can be informed. Many cat owners feel excluded by the law.

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Government responded

This response was given on 22 February 2022

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.

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 and advise them of the situation.

The Government recognises how distressing it can be for someone to lose a pet, especially without knowing what has happened. We committed in our Manifesto, and reaffirmed in our Action Plan for Animal Welfare, to introducing compulsory cat microchipping and plan to introduce the necessary legislation this year. We understand that the vast majority of local authorities now have arrangements in place to scan dead cats and dogs found by them and we will continue working with them and other stakeholders to develop and promote best practice in this area.

Department for Transport

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