Dangerous dogs and dog fighting
Most dogs are not dangerous. Unprovoked aggression from dogs is not a natural behaviour. Any dog can be dangerous if it is not kept responsibly.
Emergency dangerous dog reporting
If you are reporting a dog that is out of control and attacking people or is an immediate danger to people ring 999.
Keep your dog under control
You must keep your dog under proper control at all times. If you do not, you can be fined or imprisoned. Your dog could be destroyed and you could be banned from keeping a dog again.
If your dog:
- bites someone you could be jailed
- injures someone on your property you could still face a court order.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it an offence to allow a dog of any breed to be dangerously out of control in a public place. It does not matter if the dog has not attacked a person. It can be considered a threat if there are good reasons to suspect it may injure a person.
The law applies to all public places but not to the dog owner's private property. For example, a dog owner's private home or garden is not covered. A garden or communal staircase of a block of flats is covered. The staircase in a private house converted into two or more flats is covered.
An attack by a dog in a private home or garden can lead to civil proceedings in a magistrates' court under the Dog Act 1871. Action can be brought by the police, a local authority, or members of the public. Magistrates can then issue an order to the owner to ensure that the dog is kept under control. The police can deal with any breach of the order can under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Banned dog breeds
Four types of dogs are banned from the UK by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. These are:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Japanese Tosa
- Fila Braziliero type.
If you have not bought your dog from a registered and licensed breeder, or reputable rescue centre, and you do not know the history of the dog, then you will not be able to prove that it is not a banned breed type.
The maximum penalty for possessing an illegal breed of dog is a £5,000 fine or six months imprisonment.
The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence to allow, encourage or watch dogs fighting. A conviction can lead to imprisonment, a fine of up to £20,000 and a ban on keeping animals.
To report a dangerous dog, or if you have any information regarding illegal dog fighting or dogs being used in an intimidating way to assist crime, please contact the police on 0300 123 1212.