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Dangerous Dogs

Dogs Bred for Fighting

(Section 1, Dangerous Dogs Act 1991)

The law refers to four kinds of banned dogs:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Braziliero

You may not own, breed from, sell, give away or abandon any banned dog. The police may seize your dog if they think it is a banned type.

All owners of these breeds are required to:

  • Register their dog with their local police station
  • Microchip their dog
  • Keep the dog muzzled and on a lead when in a public place and kept in charge of a person over the age of 16 years
  • Have the inner thigh of the dog tattooed with a specific code
  • Neuter their dog
  • Have third party insurance cover

Banned dogs should be reported to the Police by calling 101.

Dogs Dangerously out of Control

(Section 3, Dangerous Dogs Act 1991)

The Dangerous Dogs Act covers any dog which is dangerously out of control in a public place, or private place where it is not permitted to be, even if it does not cause injury.

If a dog causes injury and the case is proven in court, the court have the powers to order the dog to be destroyed, sentence the owner for up to two years custodial sentence and give the owner a fine up to £5,000.

If you have concerns about a dangerously out of control dog contact us

Tell us:

  • Your Name, Address, and a contact telephone number
  • A description of the dog
  • Where & when the incident occurred
  • A brief summary of what happened

We will advise you of the reference number of your report, which you should quote if you contact us again.

What we do initially

  • We will make sure that the Dog Wardens have the details you have given us.
  • If you need immediate assistance we will try to attend as soon as we can
  • We will provide help and give appropriate advice

After an incident

  • We will ensure that the dog owner understands their obligations to prevent future occurrences
  • We will explain the further action which you can take to submit evidence to the Police and Crown Prosecution Service. Your evidence will need to be in the form of a Witness Statement. See links below for details of how to produce a statement.

If a case is brought before the Courts a Magistrate can make a ‘Control Order’ requiring the owner to keep a dog under proper control.  This may prohibit the dog from being in a public place, or require it to be muzzled. In extreme cases the Court can order that the dog be destroyed.

If the dog owner disregards a Control Order further action can be taken.

Frequently Asked Questions

What action can be taken if a dog attacks my dog, or one of my pets?

Using the Dogs Act 1871 a person can complain to a Magistrates’ Court that a dog is dangerous and not kept under control.  If this can be proved, the court can order that the dog is either kept under control, or destroyed.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 does not deal with dogs attacking other animals.  It is primarily designed to protect public safety.

There is no criminal offence if a dog attacks another dog or a pet, unless there is deliberate incitement by the dog’s owner. Neither the Police or Local Authority would usually be involved in such cases.

If the dog’s owner is not present when an attack occurs the authority can treat the dog as a stray, and attempt to seize it.  In such cases the owner would have to pay stray dog charges before their dog would be released.

Are other dogs ‘Dangerous Breeds’?

Any dog has the potential to be dangerous, but this law banning breeds only applies to four specific breeds.

How can I stay safe when visting a home where there is a dog?

We've produced some advice, "Visting Homes with Dogs" please click the link for details.

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