The Law and Dog Ownership
You could be breaking the law if
you allow your dog to be 'dangerously out of control'. A dog is
deemed to be 'dangerously out of control' if it injures a person or
behaves erratically, making a person believe it may injure
'Dangerously out of control'
- The maximum penalty for allowing
your dog to be deemed dangerously out of control is two years'
imprisonment, or a fine - or both.
- You can be charged with malicious
wounding if you allow your dog to injure someone. The maximum
penalty for this is five years' imprisonment.
- Your dog could be destroyed and
you could be banned from keeping a dog if you do not keep it under
control. Alternatively, you could be made to keep your dog muzzled
when taking it for a walk.
- If your dog is dangerously out of
control in its home or garden, the police - or anyone else worried
about the dog being a risk - can seek a control order.
If your dog injures another person's animal, or an owner of an
animal reasonably feels that your dog could injure them if they
tried to protect their animal, an offence may have been
Some dogs are 'banned' and this is
dependent upon what your dog looks like rather than its breed, name
or its parents' breed. The law states that four kinds of dog are
- Japanese Tosa.
- Dogo Argentino.
- Fila Braziliero.
- Pit Bull Terrier (can also be referred to as an American
Staffordshire Terrier, Am Staffs, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier,
Irish Blue or Red Nose, and some kinds of American Bulldogs).
The police have the power to seize
your dog if they believe it is a banned type. The maximum penalty
for possessing a banned dog is £5,000 or six months' imprisonment -
You must not own,
breed from, sell, give away or abandon any banned dog.
LEAD - Responsible dog
LEAD is a new scheme promoting responsible dog ownership,
which has been launched in Stevenage. Following on from the police
campaign to educate local residents about new dog
legislation, launched earlier this year, LEAD – Local
Environmental Awareness on Dogs - aims to help dog owners and local
LEAD is a police-led, initiative founded by PC Heath Keogh from
the MPS/London Borough of Sutton to encourage responsible dog
ownership of all breeds of dog. It seeks to provide advice to the
public on dog issues and improve dog safety and dog welfare. It
also deals with anti-social, inconsiderate and criminal behaviour
by individuals with dogs, in a way that protects and reassures the
public. It is aimed at all dog owners in Hertfordshire whether in
private or rented accommodation.
This work is being promoted through regular dog roadshows,
engagement with dog owners during regular patrols and through
day-to-day contact with owners of dogs that come to the attention
of the police. To achieve this Stevenage Police are working closely
with partner agencies, which include Stevenage Borough Council, all
Registered Social Landlords, the RSPCA and local rehoming
As well as encouraging responsible dog ownership and giving
advice, there are times when it is necessary for police to
intervene, initiate control measures and ultimately prosecute
offenders. Police intervention will take place when dogs are used
by owners to commit crime, are linked with anti-social behaviour
and are prohibited types/breeds.
We will act to enforce the law and protect the
public whenever necessary and where legislation permits. Measures
will include a first and second ‘come to notice’ letter, detailing
the issue with the dog and required action. If this is not adhered
to Acceptable Behaviour Agreements (ABA), Community Protection
Notice (CPN), Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) or a Contingent
Destruction Order (CDO) on conviction under the Dangerous Dogs Act
will all be considered. However a CPN, CBO, CDO or a Dog Control
order can be sought at any time during the process.
For more information on new legislation regarding dog ownership