Should Dangerous Dogs be put down?

It is against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control either in a public place or in a private place where the dog has no permission to be e.g, in a neighbour’s house or garden without permission. This law applies to all dogs in the UK. Your dog can be considered dangerously out of control if it injures a person or a person fears that it may injure them. A court could also decide that a dog is dangerously out of control if it injures another animal or the owner of an animal believes that they could be injured if they tried to intervene and prevent the dog from attacking their animal.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes the offence of having a dangerously out of control dog a strict liability offence. This means that if your dog in a public place or in a private place without permission attacks or injures another animal there is no defence, if you are the owner of the dog then it is your responsibility to ensure that it does not pose a threat to the public or endanger public safety.

If you are charged with an offence under the dangerous dogs act it can mean that a warrant could be issued for your dog to be seized by the police and kept in a place of safety (normally dog kennels) until your case is brought to court and a decision is made by the court about the future of the dog.

Should the court find that a dog is dangerously out of control there are several options available to the court, they could;

  1. Ban the owner for a period of time from owning any further dogs.
  2. Sentence the owner to a custodial sentence.
  3. Issue the owner with a fine.
  4. Order a male dog to be neutered if they felt that it would make the dog less aggressive.
  5. Order that the dog should be destroyed.
  6. Set restrictive conditions such as; the dog must always wear a lead and muzzle when in public.

A court should only order the dog to be destroyed as a last resort and if they feel that without making a destruction order the dog would pose a risk to public safety.

Many dog owners take issue with the Dangerous Dogs Act and the fact that a court has the power to order the destruction of a dog. Many dog owners feel that once the dogs are seized the authorities should try to work with them and train them so that they can be rehabilitated.

If you are in a situation where the authorities are involved with your dog due to reports that they are dangerously out of control then please contact a member of the Crime Team on 0116 255 4855 as we may be able to help.