This Labrador dog was given a destruction order under the Dangerous Dogs Act after 3 bite incidents. After completing a period of residential training with us, returning to his owners who then proved that they could also reproduce the new behaviour, I gave evidence in court based on my report and we successfully had the order changed to a contingency destruction order. An important case for anyone in the same position. Updated June 2019
You only have 21 days to appeal, get advice immediately. Use a solicitor experienced in dog law.
When an owner is taken to court because their dog has bitten or importantly, because it behaved as if it was going to, it is an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act. The outcome of a court case can be a discharge (mainly only on a technicality) a control order (usually muzzled in public, not off lead etc) or a destruction order. Both orders can be appealed.
A destruction order might be changed to a contingent destruction order if it is proven that the dog is not likely to repeat the behaviour, or has undergone successful rehabilitation therapy, or that therapy is likely to help. These are not simple, nor are they always accepted by the court. A contingent order means that rather than immediate destruction, as long as there is not another incident, the dog remains alive.
You will struggle at appeal if you haven’t done anything to fix the problem. If it was an escape, fix how it happened, if it’s behaviour, go and price neutering and training and get letters to show you have.
Do the following:
- If you didn’t get an expert assessment on your dog for court, get one for the appeal
- Secure or raise your fencing
- Get written letters of support from people who have regular contact with the dog
- Start remedial behaviour therapy immediately
- Don’t get your advice from facebook “expert” dog owners who think they know the law
- Go and price neutering and training and get letters to show you have done so
This dog was lucky, his owners realised they needed to act and it has saved him. I gave evidence in court to support my report and show that he had been living back with his owners and was a different dog, an expression also used by his owner.
The law is complicated, don’t be complacent, fix your problems before there is a bite, don’t just manage them.
My thanks to Cooper & Co (DogLaw) who represented my client.
Please also read “My Dog Has Bitten, the Police Seized my dog”
If you need help or advice, see our dedicated website HERE initial advice given free.