Dangerous dogs

Has your friend been attacked or threatened by a person with a dangerous dog?

If a friend of yours has been attacked by a dog 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 or see below for details.

If they've been involved in a less serious attack or if they're worried about being attacked or that somebody has been threatening them with a dog, you should encourage them to contact the police.

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

What your friend should do

If you or your friend knows the owner, it's best not to confront them directly.

They should:

  • talk to their parents or another family member
  • talk to their teacher or another responsible adult
  • contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 to talk to a professional who can offer help and advice in confidence

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 friend's behalf.

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

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.

Dangerous dogs