Dangerous dogs

Has a member of your family been attacked or threatened by a person with a dangerous dog?

If your brother or sister or someone else in your family has been attacked by a dog and been injured, they should seek medical help no matter how minor the injury appears. They should also get the police involved. Find the best way to contact us here.

If they've been involved in a less serious attack or if they're worried about being attacked or threatened by somebody using a dog, you can help prevent things getting worse.

Is the owner responsible?

Yes. Every dog owner, by law, must look after their dog properly, and that includes controlling it in public. No matter how large or small the dog, it can still hurt people.

Is it a dangerous dog?

Any dog can be unruly or difficult to control. But a dog will be considered dangerously out of control by the police if it behaves in a way that makes someone worried or scared that it might injure them.

In this case the owner is guilty of an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. If the dog does injure someone, this becomes an aggravated offence (which will get the owner into even more trouble). There may be a fine and/or imprisonment and the courts can stop the owner from having a dog for a period of time.

Is it an illegal dog?

Certain breeds of dog are banned in the UK. This means it's illegal to own, breed, sell or give one away. The four types of banned dogs are:

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

If your brother, sister or other family member knows the owner, and are apprehensive about approaching them, it's probably best not to confront the owner directly, but get someone responsible - a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult - involved.

Or if they feel they need to take things further they can speak to us:

  • They can contact their local police station or speak to their Safer Schools Officer or Safer Neighbourhoods Team - if it's an emergency and someone is in immediate danger call 999.
  • If they feel unable to talk to the police they could contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111 (they won't have to give their name and their call will not be traced).
  • Or for more information visit the ‘Reporting crime’ section on the Metropolitan Police website or the ‘How to contact us’ page on this site.

You can also talk to us yourself or ask someone else to speak to us on your family member's behalf.

If it's reported will the dog be put down?

Not necessarily. When we investigate such incidents we go to speak with the owner of the dog and we may seize and take the dog away to be held and assessed. We will look at whether it is one of the banned types or if its behaviour is concerning. A decision will be made by the courts about each case and whether the dog can be returned to its owner or has to be put to sleep.

Getting more help

For more information about dangerous and illegal dogs visit our 'Get the facts' or 'More help and advice' pages.