Many dog owners believe that the Dangerous Dog Act only applies to dangerous dogs. But did you know, it actually applies to all breeds of dogs in the UK?
A dog doesn't have to bite to be deemed dangerous in the eyes of the law
The law applies to your dog regardless or breed or temperament. So whether you have a cute, friendly Cockapoo who loves everyone or a big lovable Rottweiler, the law applies to you!
Under the Dangerous Dog Act, it is illegal for your dog to be 'out of control' or to bite or attack someone. It is also an offence if a person has reasonable apprehension that a dog may bite them (this includes if your dog runs up to someone, jumps up or barks at them)
What should you do to keep your dog safe?
If your dog is likely to react to visitors by barking, jumping up or biting, then you should introduce some measures to keep all visitors safe.
Make sure your dog is under control when you open your front door
Visitors should be able to safely enter your home without encountering your dog
Train your dog to stay on their bed when visitors arrive
Make sure visitors are comfortable with your dog and give your dog space to retreat
Keep a close eye on visiting children. Over 50% of dog bites are to children.
Remove your dog from the room if they feel threatened by visitors and utilise crates, pens or a safe room
Postal workers should be able to carry out their duties without encountering your dog or feeling threatened - install post catching cages if your dog is likely to nip at fingers and don't allow your dog to have access to the front garden
Ensure your back garden is secured with locked gates to discourage trespassers
Whilst you may be protected by the law if your dog attacks an intruder that comes into your home. You are not protected if your dog bites someone in your front or back garden, even if they aren't invited!
You should keep your dog under close control at all times - never allow your dog to wonder too far (this will help to prevent dog theft too) and never let your dog roam free without you
Work on your dog's training skills every-day and incorporate the training into your walks
Call your dog back to you promptly on walks and never allow your dog to run up to other people or dogs uninvited
Never allow your dog to greet a person without you there to supervise and manage their behaviour
If your dog barks at people or dogs, work closely with a force free trainer to work on your dog's behaviour
Is it an offence for your dog to attack an assistance dog, but it is not an offence for your dog to attack other animals. However, a court could still prosecute if a person believed they would have been injured trying to stop the attack. If your dog is attacked by another dog, the incident should still be reported to the police immediately.
What happens if a complaint is made against your dog?
Your dog could have a control order placed on them requiring them to be kept on a lead and muzzled in public places, even if your dog has not bitten anyone
If your dog is deemed to be dangerous, your dog may be ordered to be euthanised
If your dog attacks an assistance dog, you could face up to 3 years in prison
If your dog injures someone, you could face up to 5 years in prison
If your dog kills someone, you could face up to 14 years in prison
If you own a prohibited dog, you could face up to 6 months in prison. Prohibited dogs include the Pitbull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and the Filo Brasileiro. You can own these dogs under certain circumstances: the dog requires an exemption certificate, must be kept on lead and muzzled in public, be microchipped, insured, neutered and tattooed with a unique number,
Did you know?
Over 250,000 people attend minor injury and emergency units in the UK every year from dog bites?
Children are more likely to be bitten
Dogs are more likely to bite people they know
In the USA, there are 100 dog bites every hour. 50% are children
The risk of dying from a dog bite are very low. Between 2020 and 2022, only 7 people were killed by dogs in the UK, vs 600 murders and 39 fatal injuries from roofing accidents between 2020 and 2021
Do you need help with your dog's training?
Training your dog is essential to keep them safe both at home and out in public. Here at Adolescent Dogs, we take training seriously and help to train thousands of dogs and their owners every year via residential training, one to one lessons, classes and our Online Academy. We have over 16 years of experience training using positive, force free training methods and have developed a training programme that has proven to be successful in training a wide variety of dogs and their owners.
Find out more about our training options here: www.adolescentdogs.com
Or call us on 0800 222 9007
We offer training across the UK via our residential training, in Surrey for one to one lessons, and worldwide for our Online Academy.
Written by Jenny Newland