It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere.
The word 'dangerous dog' can be interpreted in many different ways but, for the purposes of deciding who will deal with a complaint, these incidents can be put into 5 categories;
1. A bite to a person that has broken the skin. Although the council may work with the police in these cases, this should be reported to the police by calling 101. It is also recommended that the person bitten seeks medical attention.
2. A bite to another animal, including other dogs or cats. This should be reported to East Hampshire District Council.
3. A bite to a person that has not broken the skin. This should be reported to East Hampshire District Council.
4. An attack on livestock - there is specific legislation to deal with this, The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. These instances should be reported to the police by calling 101.
5. A dog that acted aggressively but did not bite or inflict any damage. I'm afraid this is not something that either the police or the council would normally be able to help with but in some circumstances we can. You are welcome to contact East Hampshire District Council to discuss this.
The Dangerous Dog Act 1991 makes it an offence for a dog to be ‘dangerously act of control’. This means there has to be good reason to believe that a dog would bite or directly injure a person. However, this law is only likely to be used in the most severe cases that are dealt with in category 1 above.
What are the penalties?
You can get an unlimited fine and be sent to prison for up to 6 months. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.
If you let your dog injure someone, you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years and fined. If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.
If you allow your dog to kill someone, you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years and get an unlimited fine.
If you allow your dog to injure a guide dog, you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years and fined.
How to stop your dog becoming dangerous
Make sure your dog gets used to people and other animals from a young age.
Do not encourage it to bite, even in play, or to guard you or your property aggressively.
Ensure that it is well trained so you have it under control at all times. You should use a muzzle and a lead if you have any doubts about your dog’s behaviour.
It illegal to own, breed from, sell, or give away the following dogs:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff)
- Japanese Tosa.
If you are found to own a banned dog, you can be fined up to £5,000.