Can you claim a guard dog as a legitimate business expense? It's debatable. Alison Williams and Andrew Ballard, who run Bridge End Stores and Earith Post Office and live on the premises in Cambridgeshire, acquired a guard dog back in 2003, after they were ram-raided for their (empty) ATM machine. They have claimed £500 per year as business expenses for her upkeep. "Of course, she shares our accommodation, and might appear to be a docile pet when not threatened - but she is a working guard dog, alerts us to anything out of the ordinary and has a good loud bark on her (and actually bars the staff from entering our private accommodation when we're out)," writes Alison. "Unfortunately, our tax inspector does not consider her to be a legitimate business expense."
I did some research on this. TaxAid (0845 120 3779, free and instantly helpful) quoted the Inland Revenue's manual which says that guard dogs can be claimed as a capital allowance (regarding animals as 'plant', as in apparatus). However, there is a situation called 'duality of purpose' which might disallow it (i.e. dog doubles as pet). You could, therefore, try claiming 50%.
There are other rules, though, contained within the Guard Dogs Act 1975. I quote: "It is an offence to use or permit the use of a guard dog on any premises unless the handler, who is capable of controlling him, is present on the premises and the dog is under control. The dog must be secured so that he is not at liberty to go about the premises. A warning that a guard dog is present must be clearly exhibited at each entrance to the premises.Furthermore, the owner of a guard dog may be liable for any injury to a person under the Animals Act 1971."
How can a dog be expected to guard a premises if said animal is tied up?