The biggest fear of many dog owners is that of their dog scaring or biting someone and the police taking it away. We have done many behaviour assessments for court cases relating to the Dangerous Dogs Act and if you are in trouble, here is some advice. Whether an owner or a victim, please ask for help.
DDA changes 13th May 2014 incorporated, last update April 2021
The law changed on 13th May 2014 and now covers private as well as public property. Remember your dog only has to cause the legitimate fear of a bite or injury in another way, not actually bite, to break the law.
If your dog has bitten someone and you fear a police visit RING FOR ADVICE, start the behaviour process now, not after your dog is seized and can only be assessed in kennels, possibly giving a worse result.
Call us on 0208 1445799 or 0115 883334 for advice. Debbie Connolly is a court Expert Witness for Dangerous Dog Cases.
Remember your dog breaks the law by causing apprehension, so if it behaves in a manner that could make someone think it is going to bite them, you have broken the law. Stop letting your dog loose if it runs up to people or dogs and is not under your control. There has to be safe passage to your door for delivery and postal workers.
Too many people leave help until too late. The dogs in many cases we have worked on showed a history of problem behaviour which was excused or ignored or misinterpreted by the owner until too late. Please ask for help in time, before you have the police at your door.
You need legal and expert advice if any incident occurs, not the local man in the pub, facebook or next door neighbour. Most people think they know the law and don’t. We will help you find a suitable solicitor and a support group.
We’ve also worked for many solicitors and barristers around the country, so call us for some free initial advice.
See our new website if you have been involved in an incident
We are now based in North Leicestershire to offer help over a bigger area, covering East and West Midlands, South and West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Home Counties and London. Other areas considered.
Some important points:
- the police cannot tell you to or force you to put a dog down, only a court can do that, they cannot take your dog and destroy it unless YOU sign their disclaimer to say they can. There is no legal obligation to sign a disclaimer. They can seize a dog and hold it in kennels until the court date.
- a seized dog CANNOT be put down by police, only a judge can order that in court and even then you can usually appeal. You may be asked to disclaim your dog and avoid prosecution or you may feel you do not want to defend the incident. It is a choice you make.
- the police can seize a dog with a warrant that is suspected of biting, is a continuing danger to the public, looks like a Pit Bull type or other prohibited breed (in public too). If you have invited them into your home, they will often use section 19 of PACE to seize with no warrant, so ask at the door why they are there.
- behave sensibly, you can defend complaints and police have a job to do. Refusing to voluntarily surrender your dog or to allow officers inside with no warrant should be carefully considered. If your dog has injured someone, the magistrates are very likely to issue the warrant and then police can enter whether you are there or not. Think about the best and easiest route for your dog.
- some police officers have made it sound like the dog will be put down anyway and distraught owners have handed over the dog and not fought. This is not true so DO NOT SIGN THE DISCLAIMER
- if reported or you have an incident, get a behaviourist immediately to do an assessment, don’t wait to be told
- take responsibility and start training, neuter if necessary
- if your dog looks like it could be a Pit Bull or cross of one or other prohibited breed, it can be seized in public regardless of behaviour, but not destroyed without a court order and you can challenge and defend the charge
- if you receive a letter from your landlord or housing authority, get advice before rehoming your dog
- if you get a noise complaint, get training help immediately, don’t wait until going to court
- You can employ your own assessor to measure and examine a dog suspected of being a banned breed and if they disagree with police, it has to be a court decision
Join the “My Dog Has Bitten” page on facebook
Also read our post about Pit Bulls and the Law “When is a Pit Bull Not a Pit Bull”
And read our post on how investigations happen and how you defend them Dangerous Dogs Act Help