If you are the owner of a dog, or take responsibility for a dog, it is very important to be aware of the law. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it an offence to possess or breed certain breeds of dog altogether.
However, there are also offences which relate to any dog, irrespective of breed:-
Under section 3(1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 if a dog is dangerously out of control in any place (including on private property) the owner, or person for the time being in charge of the dog, can be guilty of an offence punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment.
‘Dangerously out of control’ means there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that the dog will injure any person or assistance dog.
If the dog injures a person while dangerously out of control, this will be a more serious offence, which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.
In cases which involve an injury, there is a presumption that the court shall make a destruction order, unless it is satisfied that the dog would not constitute a danger to public safety. Even in cases which do not involve an injury, this can be considered as an additional measure.
We appreciate these allegations can be very upsetting for a dog owner, especially where the animal has never displayed any signs of aggression. We will always consider instructing an experienced expert in dog behaviour to challenge the evidence, and to avoid a destruction order being made.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a protected animal or, if being responsible for a protected animal, to permit any unnecessary suffering to be caused to any such animal. This offence relates to domestic pets.
Please contact us if you have any questions relating to dangerous dogs or animal welfare, or if you face an investigation or prosecution for these types of offence.