Please read the information below to make sure that you understand the law about dangerous dogs.
Dogs ‘dangerously out of control’
You could be breaking the law by allowing your dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’. Any dog is ‘dangerously out of control’ if it injures a person, or it behaves in a way that makes a person worried that it might injure them.
- The maximum penalty for allowing a dog you own or are in charge of to be dangerously out of control is two years’ imprisonment, or a fine - or both.
- If you do not keep your dog under control, your dog could be destroyed and you could be banned from keeping a dog. Or, you might be ordered to keep your dog muzzled when taking it for a walk.
- If you use your dog to injure someone then you may be charged with malicious wounding. The maximum penalty for this is five years’ imprisonment.
- If your dog is dangerously out of control in its own home or garden, the police or anyone else that is worried about the dog being a risk could seek a control order.
- If your dog injures another person’s animal, or an owner of an animal reasonably believes that they could be injured if they intervened to protect their animal from your dog, then an offence may have been committed.
Some dogs are banned. This depends on what your dog looks like rather than its breed, name or the breed of its parents. The law refers to four kinds of dog which are banned:
- Pit Bull Terrier (could also be called: American Staffordshire Terriers, Am Staffs, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Irish Blue or Red Nose, and some kinds of American Bulldogs).
- Japanese Tosa.
- Dogo Argentino.
- Fila Braziliero.
The police can seize your dog if they think it is a banned type. The maximum penalty for possessing a banned dog is a fine of £5,000, or six months’ imprisonment - or both.
You must not own, breed from, sell, give away or abandon any banned dog.