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.
Last Edit April 2016
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.
Also see our post about Seized Dogs and your rights
If your dog is threatened or injured, report it to the 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.
This s Debbie Connolly’s interview about the DDA on Sky News April 2016
So, 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 just 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. 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.
Join us on facebook for more information
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.
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 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
Call us 0208 1445799