Dangerous dogs

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

Finding out or even just suspecting that your child has been threatened or attacked by a dog, whatever their age, can be stressful and upsetting. But you can help.

If the dog has injured your child, you should seek medical help for your child no matter how minor the injury appears. You should also get the police involved.

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 you think the threat is real you should report it 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.

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

Not necessarily. The first thing that might happen is that the dog will be taken away by the police and held. It may then takes careful research by experts to check if it's one of the four banned breeds. A decision will be made by the courts about each case.

Getting more help

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