Dangerous dogs enforcement
- Category: Animals and pests
- Last Updated: 17 October 2016
Information on the legislation used to control dangerous dogs.
The Dogs Act 1871
The Act makes it an offence to have a dog which is dangerous and not under proper control:
- in a public place; and
- where the dog is on the owner's private property where other people have a right of access.
The Act may be used to place a Control Order on a dog, ie meaning that it should be muzzled or kept on a lead.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
The Act covers ownership of pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero. It puts restrictions on other dogs believed to be a danger to the public.
It makes it an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control:
- in a public place; or
- injuring any person while it is on private property; or
- if there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will do so.
A dog does not have to bite someone to be classed as dangerous. If you are convicted you can face a fine up to £5,000 and/or up to 6 months in prison, in addition to the court ordering that the dog is destroyed or controlled in some way, eg muzzled and on a lead at all times in public.
How to avoid having a dangerous dog
- Ensure that your dog is well socialised with people and other animals, from a young age
- Do not encourage him to bite, even in play, or to guard you or your property aggressively
- Make sure his bark is worse than his bite
- Ensure that he is well trained so that you can keep him under control at all times
- Use a muzzle and a lead if you have any doubts about your dog's temperament. A dog may be good with people but not other dogs
- You should always be careful, as a large percentage of dog bites occur when owners are trying to separate dogs that are fighting
- Report any dogs that you feel may be dangerous to the Dog Warden
- Report a dog biting incident to your local police immediately