Dangerous Dogs

There is a specific Act to which Dangerous Dogs come under, this is called The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

There are two main sections to this Act. Section 1 applies to four specific breeds of dog including ‘the type of dog known as the pit bull terrier’. Owners of these breeds had to comply with certain legal requirements, including having their dog registered, neutered, micro chipped and tattooed. One of the main problems with this law is that the pit bull terrier is not a recognised breed in the UK. As a result, many owners of cross breeds which resemble a pit bull terrier 'type' have been charged under the Act.

For more information regarding breeds of dog which are prohibited in Great Britain, please view the DEFRA leaflet Prohibited Dangerous Dogs (under Related Documents).

Section 3, affects all dogs regardless of breed or type. It makes it a criminal offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place. This includes any instance during which an injury of any sort occurs or there is a fear that an injury might occur. In addition, under Section 3(3) of the Act, the owner (or person in charge at the time) of a dog can be prosecuted if an incident occurs in a non- public place where the dog was not permitted to be

Owners found guilty under either section of the Act could have their dog destroyed, face the possibility of six months in prison and/or a fine not exceeding level 5 (at present up to £5,000).

Local authorities have no powers under this act, responsibility falls to the police to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed under the Act. 

For more information please view the DEFRA leaflet Dangerous Dog Law and You (under Related Documents).

Please note: Dogs attacking other dogs does not constitute as a criminal offence therefore neither the police or the local authority have any powers under the current legislation.  You can pursue a civil case to try and reclaim some of your veterinary costs.  You would need to contact your solicitor for further advice.