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UK: Getting tough on irresponsible dog owners

London (DEFRA) – The law on dangerous dogs will today be spelt out by Lord Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Food, Farming and Animal Health at the RSPCA Conference on Dogs.

Lord Rooker is publishing a Defra leaflet which provides clear, concise and accessible information regarding the law on dogs which are dangerously out of control and dogs which are banned

Lord Rooker said.

“The vast majority of dog owners are responsible and the vast majority of dogs are well behaved, but recent tragic cases of dog attacks underline why we need to give absolute clarity to anyone that owns a dog on their responsibilities under the law.

“This new leaflet explains to dog owners, and people who come into contact with dogs, how the law prevents irresponsible dog ownership.

“It is important that people understand the law as this may deter irresponsible dog owners from allowing their dogs to be dangerous.”

The leaflet outlines the following key points:

  • Any dog is defined as dangerously out of control if it injures a person or if it behaves in a way that makes a person worried that it might injure them. The maximum penalty for allowing your dog to be dangerously out of control is two years imprisonment, or a fine, or both.
  • A control order can be obtained if a dog is judged to present a risk – even if it is in its own home or garden.
  • If a dog injures another person’s animal and the owner of the animal reasonably believes they could be injured if they intervened, then the dog could be judged as being dangerously out of control and an offence may therefore be committed
  • If someone uses their dog to injure someone they could be charged with malicious wounding. The maximum penalty for this is five years imprisonment.
  • The leaflet also deals with the law on banned dogs. It explains that:

  • Four types of dog are banned – Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero.
  • Whether a dog is banned depends on what it looks like rather than the breed or name by which it is called. This is because the legislation refers to dogs which conform to a certain type and have particular characteristics, not specific breeds.
  • Defra’s website has a full description and photographs of prohibited dogs.
  • It is against the law to own, breed from, sell, give away or abandon any banned dog.
  • The maximum penalty for possessing a banned dog is a fine of £5,000, or six months imprisonment, or both.
  • A printable version of the leaflet is available on the Defra website.

    Defra is also currently working on a booklet to provide guidance on the law to those who are enforcing it, including the police and local authorities.

    The public leaflet, in combination with the enforcers’ document, is an essential part of Defra’s strategy to promote the better enforcement of the law on dangerous dogs.

    MET: 2020-08-07 11:22:52