A legal firm in Lincolnshire has scented new opportunities with the growth of so-called dog laws.
There are currently about 24 Acts of Parliament that relate just to dogs.
In addition, there are a further 11 Acts concerning animals in general.
Now Ringrose Law, of Hall Place, Spalding, and which also has offices in Grantham and Sleaford, says it is taking the lead on the issue with the creation of a Canine Law department.
It is believed the new team is the first of its type in the county.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “We feel it is increasingly likely that dog owners will, at some stage, require legal advice of some kind in relation to their canine companion.”
Issues that might arise include ownership disputes, community protection orders, barking dogs and damage claims.
The firm will continue to offer advice for dog bite claims through its personal injury department.
The Canine Law department will be headed up by solicitor and associate Emma McGrath, who is also the owner of two dogs.
She says she often finds herself offering advice to her dog-owning friends and competitors she meets in her personal life.
She said: “We are increasingly hearing reports in the news of dog attacks, abuse to animals and neglect from owners. Our Canine Law team is able to provide support, legal advice and representation to dog owners across the county who are experiencing any problems.
“I have always been a great lover of dogs and currently own a Border Collie and a Sprocker, who both undertake dog agility training and compete in local competitions.
“I have always had a strong interest in canine law and regularly write articles for national dog publications, dealing with issues that dog-owners may face.
She added: “Lincolnshire is such an agricultural county, with many dog owners, that we feel there is a real opportunity to advise people when they have a problem.
Janet Handley, secretary of the Grantham and District Canine Society, said: “I think this is probably a good idea.
“It would be useful for people to know there is somewhere they can go to get advice from on issues concerning dogs.
“There is a lot of legislation relating to dogs and there is a lot of ignorance about it out there.”
She said any concerns that members of the society might have were usually dealt with through the Kennel Club.
Fiona Granger, of Ruff Diamonds Dog Training Centre, in Grantham, said: “It is an interetsing idea. Anything that helps dog owners to be aware of the law in relation to their dog is welcome.
“We don’t need anything that demonises dog owners though.”
Ringrose Law’s new service will provide either 20 minutes free telephone advice or a free appointment with a member of the team seven days a week.
For initial enquiries contact Emma McGrath on 01775 662662 or go to http://www.ringroselaw.co.uk/business-law/dispute- resolution/canine-law/