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. Don’t panic. We have also successfully fought cases where tenants were told by Housing Associations or Councils that their dogs has to go after behaviour complaints.
DDA changes 13th May 2014 incorporated, last update August 2017
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, it has 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 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 recommend Doglaw, run by the best known solicitor for dog cases, Trevor Cooper.
They run an excellent helpline with a live person who can give you legal advice.
We also recommend James Parry of Parry Welch and Lacey who will also give initial advice http://www.uklegal.expert/
Both of these cover England and Wales, don’t worry about where they are based.
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, Derbyshire, Liverpool, Home Counties and London.
Some important points:
- the police cannot tell you 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. 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
- the police can seize a dog with a warrant that is suspected of biting, a continuing danger to the public, looks like a Pit Bull type (in public). 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.
- don’t sign the dog over if there is no warrant and the police have not entered your property if there was an incident until you have had some advice, 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. 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, it can be seized in public regardless of behaviour, but not destroyed without a court order
- 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