Dangerous dogs and the law
Your dog, your responsibility
Every dog owner, by law, must look after it properly. If you don't you could be fined and banned from owning animals in the future. As an owner, you are responsible for:
- keeping your dog under control in a public place
- putting a tag on its collar with your contact details (in case it gets lost)
- cleaning up after your dog in public
If you're worried that your dog or a dog you know is difficult to control, there is help out there. Often careful training and lots of attention and encouragement can solve the problem. For more information, considering getting in touch with:
- the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) - 01285 810 811
- the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) - 01386 75 11 51
When might the police get involved?
These are all matters for the police:
- owning a banned dog that is not registered - this can result in a fine of £5,000 and even six months' in prison (see Section One of the Dangerous Dogs Act)
- breeding from, selling, abandoning or giving away a banned dog
- dangerously out of control dog behaviour; it is a criminal offence to allow any type of dog to be dangerously out of control in public
- your dog is considered to be dangerously out of control if it injures a person, or behaves in a way that makes someone worried or scared that it might injure them
More seriously, if you use your dog to deliberately injure someone you could get five years in prison and/or a fine of up to £5,000. Your dog might also be taken away from you permanently.
ASBOs for dangerous dog owners
If a young person who has a dog is repeatedly reported doing any of the above, it could lead to them being given an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO). See our section on anti-social behaviour.
If you are worried about any issues relating to dangerous dogs, there's plenty of help and support available. Visit our page More help and advice.