Can I take my dog with me to vote?
With elections happening in your region this week, Blue Cross has released advice for dog owners who may want to take their pet along to their local polling station. Posting photos of dogs at polling stations has become popular on social media in recent years so the national pet charity has put together a ‘ruff’ guide on voting with your pets. Many polling stations allow dogs inside, as long as you and your dog abide by the rules. According to guidance from the Electoral Commission, dogs can enter polling stations in an ‘accompanying’ role but they are not allowed to be ‘free range’ inside or to disrupt the vote. Blue Cross would advise dog owners to check with their local councils whether they allow dogs inside ahead of election day, as leaving your dog tied up outside can leave your pet at risk of being stolen. Photos of dogs pictured next to polling station signs has become a regular trend on social media along with #dogsatpollingstations but it is against the law to communicate information about how someone has voted, is about to vote or to communicate the unique ID ballot paper number. The Electoral Commission has issued guidance to officials suggesting people should not allow photos inside polling stations as accidentally including any of the above details in the background of a shot could lead to a jail sentence and a £5,000 fine. Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at Blue Cross said: “We love how dogs can get involved on polling day with #dogsatpollingstations. "If you intend to take your dog with you to vote do check if your polling station allows dogs inside, which is much better than leaving them tied up outside and running the risk of dog theft.” For more information visit www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/dogs-at-polling-stations