We read every day about dogs being injured by other dogs, sometimes fatally.  Although I work closely with several police forces, they often give poor advice about the law as it stands now and what can be done.  My latest advocacy was for a Registered Assistance Dog that had been repeatedly attacked by the same dog and Police persistently said nothing could be done as man not bitten.  The attacking dog is now removed to rescue.

Please note: this advice relates to current British Law, the DDA is different in Scotland.

The DDA was amended 14th May 2014 to include private property and other changes. If your dogs causes “reasonable apprehension” in someone who believes they could be bitten, you have broken the law.  BEFORE a bite.

If your dog is threatened or injured, report it to the Police and Council Dog Warden.  They may say they can’t do anything, insist they take a report so that if there is another incident, more evidence is available. Try to get a photo if you can of the person and dog.  Sadly some people have thought their dog was not badly injured and got home to find worse wounds that thought.  The least you can do is pursue the owner for your vet bills.  You may still be able to take legal action under the original Dogs Act too.

I wrote an article three years ago for the Police Billboard magazine that criticised the Police’s reaction to reports of dog threats.  The copper on the street seems not to think they can act until a person is bitten, but this is not correct.  This seems to be the same now, if recent referrals are an indication.

So yes, action can be taken, if it is reasonable to say that the behaviour of the  dog means it is legitimate to feel you are likely to be bitten.  Note it becomes an aggravated offence in a public place if the dog injures (not bites) a person, but is an offence before that.  We don’t want dogs seized and destroyed, we want dog owners to take responsibility and for the Police to go talk to them and explain the law.  This alone has often made a reluctant or lazy owner take action, get training, neuter, buy new gates!

The local Dog Warden is your best bet for incidents that don’t need Police initially, or where you want to report something happening in a private place.  But if in public, especially if there are repeated offences by a dog owner, regardless of whether a person has yet been bitten, if it is reasonable to say you thought you would be, the Police CAN act.

The Dangerous Dogs Act applies to public and private premises.

If your dog is injured, as things stand, it is not an offence, something else campaigners are working on.  Unless there is a threat to a person, you cannot do much other than invoke the original Dogs Act which is civil.

In a lot of cases the attacking dog is well known, has frightened lots of people and probably needs training and neutering but the owner won’t do anything.  We have helped a lot of dog owners get the right help to persuade the offender to act responsibly.

I don’t expect to help or change every case, and you must be aware that Police involvement might possibly result in a court case that rules the dog must be put to sleep.  None of us want that, we’d like the court to impose court orders to make an owner muzzle if there’s no other option, we hope that the threat alone is enough to make them get help and not need further action.  But you must be realistic and balance out the threat to person and animal against not taking risky action in some cases.

The last two cases we have acted as advocate for and dealt directly with the Police have resulted on one dog going to rescue and the other neutering and getting training.  One prior to that resulted in the owner getting a control order for the poor dog, but as the attacks were serious and he wouldn’t listen, there was no choice.

Banding together with other owners who have also been affected, particularly if same place or same dog, can mean more press interest and if no other choice, embarrassing the owner has worked too.

If you want advice, or an advocate, we may be able to help. We ask that you consider a donation to our own Bravo Working Dog Rescue if you need this so we can help other dogs.

If you own a dog that is aggressive, please get help, we all want to have our dogs live a great life with lots of freedom.  We retrain dogs like this all the time, ask for our help. Read about our services on the SafePets website HERE

LIMITED TIME ONLY, CAT OR DOG ADVICE SHEET PACK BY EMAIL.  BARKING, TOILET TRAINING, RELATIONSHIPS, STRESS, HYPERACTIVITY, AGGRESSION, NERVOUSNESS AND MORE.  pay pal link £5 donation to Bravo Working Dog Rescue

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Y45WWSN4KLSKN

Also read our other posts

http://safepetsuk.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/is-my-dog-a-pitbull-dangerous-dogs-act-and-your-dog/

http://safepetsuk.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/save-lennox-when-is-a-pitbull-not-a-pitbull/

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6 responses »

  1. Ryan says:

    My dog has been bitten twice now by one of the neighbours on our farm as she opens the door when taking it a walk and it runs free despite pestering all of the neighbors dogs. She owns 3 a Rottweiler cross, an alsation and some form of terrier. The two big ones are fine and the alsation is very well trained but its the terrier that causes the havoc. L As i said before this has happened twice now and one was ealier today with my girlfriend taking our rottweiler (1 and a half years old, not fully matured but big dog, neutered and we rehomed him still in 1on1 training once a month) out for his morning pee, she opens the door and the terrier runs down to our dog after seeing him about 75/100 yards away barking. My girlfriend got our to sit as we knew what was abouto happen after last time. Sure enough the wee dog starts trying to bite the back end of our dog l, in my opinion understandable he starts jumping around. Takes about 30 seconds of this until the owner runs down to get the terrier off my dog. No serious injuries and no-one except the other neighbors care about what happened
    happened. Cant help but feel if this was the opposite way about and the rottweiler bit the terrier it would be a completely different story. Why only the big dogs that get victimised!

    • safepets uk says:

      Sad tale. You can report to dog warden as this dog is straying. You could put a lead on it and get dog warden to collect it and they’ll have to pay to get him back. You are right, the other way round and you’d be in the papers. One day this could turn nasty, I’d be reporting it.

  2. Lynne Beaty says:

    my akita was attacked last night while i was walking him, a huge rottweiler that pulled free of its owner came snarling over and was biting my dogs neck area i kept pulling my dog back although he did defend himself and me it was a most terrifying experience this dog is far to powerful for the woman walking him i am now scared that everytime we go out if we are on the same street he will try for my dog again,,this is the 2nd time my poor dog has been attacked the first being when he was only 5 months old and i took him to the park where other dog owners sat round while there dogs were off their leads and all 4 off them were snapping at his legs, small dogs big personalities he now hates any small dogs that come near,,,its so unfair my akita is the most gentle softy boy he is 3 and a half yrs

    • safepets uk says:

      Hello Lynne
      I have a soft spot for Akitas, this is such a sad story. I would report this to the dog warden and make sure it is recorded in case of other complaints. Unless you were threatened by the dog (only have to be threatened, not bitten) then you can insist the Police take a report under section 3 of the DDA.
      If the owner is in council, Housing Association or private renting, also speak to the landlord, most have clauses in about tenant’s dogs causing nuisance.

  3. Pauly Miller says:

    My 5month Collie pup was attacked by a staffy this weekend. Went straight for her throat and was quickly killing her. Myself and staffy owner could NOT get him off so i literally battered its face with everything i had until he eventually dropped her. It was horrific!.. her throat was cut open and my hand/wrist cut up. Leather collar saved her life!!!
    They offered to pay all vets bills and muzzle him, but i am really torn weather i report it or not? Despite the awful attack it is their dog (all dogs mean something to their owners) & i kinda don’t want it destroyed.
    An old ladies dog or a child would not have survived that. what should i do?

    • safepets uk says:

      I hope your pup makes a full recovery. The DDA does not cover dog on dog attacks, there has to be a threat to person.
      I would report this to your local dog warden. You may find the dog is known and the owners promise every time to muzzle in future and don’t.

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