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 and
East Herts. 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 residents further.
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 centres.
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
For more information about LEAD
contact: PC Lindsey Cox (Stevenage) firstname.lastname@example.org
and PC Gemma Wardell (East Herts) email@example.com.
All anti-social dog incidents and bites must be reported via
For more information on new legislation regarding dog ownership
Other Useful links