Author Topic: The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991  (Read 2305 times)

Offline Bunter

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The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
« on: October 30, 2009, 14:47:29 PM »
The full Act is here: Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Here are the most relevant bits:

* The Dangerous Dog Act applies to ALL dogs.
* If a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place, the owner or person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence. A dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person, whether or not it actually does so.
* This offence can result in a fine or a prison sentence not exceeding 6 months. The dog may also be destroyed and the owner disqualified from owning a dog for a specific period of time.
* A Police constable or an officer of the local authority may seize a dog if they consider it dangerously out of control.
* Specific regulations apply to fighting dogs. These are deemed as Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa or any dog considered by the Secretary of State to have been breed for fighting. The act looks likely to prohibit these dogs entirely in the future, but currently in such cases it is an offence if you:
 - breed, sell or exchange such a dog
 - have the dog in a public place without a muzzle and kept on a lead.
 - allow the dog to stray.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 prohibits possession of certain named breeds of dog, except under strictly controlled conditions. The breeds in question are:
* Pit Bull Terriers
* Japanese Tosas
* Dogo Argentinos
* Fila Brazilieros

A dog is not allowed to have one bite (this is a myth) so the very first time that your dog acts dangerously could end up in a Court.

'Dangerously out of control' is defined as being 'on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person'. Generally, if a dog bites someone then it will be presumed to have been dangerously out of control, however someone only has to be frightened that they will be injured for it to be an offence under the Act.

'Public place' is defined as including any place 'to which the public have or are permitted to have access'.  This can include driveways and communal entrances to a block of flats, for instance.

The Police have the discretionary power to seize a dog (although they may need a warrant) but there is no provision for 'bail' for the dog pending a conclusion at Court.

If injury is caused to a person, then there is a presumption in favour of destruction of the dog unless the owner can prove that the dog would not constitute a danger to public safety. If the Court can be persuaded not to impose destruction, then the alternative is a Contingent Destruction Order ie. a requirement that unless the dog is kept under proper control then it shall be destroyed. The Court has the power to impose conditions to such an order.

For the owner and/or person in charge of the dog at the time of the incident the Court has the power to impose a prison sentence as well as a ban on keeping dogs. However, this is very rare and the more likely outcome is financial ie. a fine, compensation and costs.

There is a separate charge (in Section 3(3)) which can be brought against an owner (or person in charge) if the incident occurs in a non-public place, where the dog is not permitted to be.

NB - Many people are unable to recognise a Pit Bull Terrier.  Have a look here to see if you can recognise which one is the Pit Bull.  However, a dog only has to look like a Pit, or be of 'type' (a cross) for it to be seized under the Act.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 14:52:32 PM by Bunter »

Offline Bunter

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Re: The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 21:08:51 PM »
Defra leaflet: Dangerous Dogs Law, Guidance for Enforcers

Includes: Identifying Pit Bull Terrier (PBT) types