Debbie Connolly, the Founder of SafePets UK is an experienced Expert Witness, assessing dogs who have bitten and giving evidence in court. Understand your rights and ask for help ASAP. Initial advice given free.
DO NOT SIGN YOUR DOG OVER TO POLICE. GET ADVICE FIRST.
- Police have no powers to destroy dogs or to make you do so. The only way they can is if they get you to sign the police disclaimer, gaining ownership of the dog. There is no obligation, legally or otherwise to sign it. You can probably defend it and should take the time to get legal advice before agreeing.
- The Dangerous Dogs Act is a law of strict liability. This means the obligation is yours to keep people safe from your dog. It makes no difference if you say don’t touch my dog, or put signs up.
- Police can seize and hold dogs suspected of biting or of being a banned breed. They usually need a warrant but not always. Dogs are held securely in kennels out of the area and you will not be able to see your dog or know where it is held.
- I am an expert witness, I assess dogs involved in incidents, write reports and give evidence. Your expert is the only one that can gain access to your dog if seized by police.
- This is a crime like any other and so must be investigated. Seizing a dog does not necessarily mean a case will go to court. There are out of court options available to police. Police have a job to do, they cannot decide which crimes are investigated.
- If your dog bites someone, ensure you take care of the victim and give them your contact details.
- Dog on dog only incidents are civil not criminal and so should always be reported to the dog warden. The exception is if a person is injured during it or genuinely feared they would be. Then it is a police matter. Always report incidents. even if you feel not much has been done, I see cases where the volume of complaints gets a case into court.
- Get advice ASAP. Not from social media, some incorrect and dangerous advice is often on facebook.
- Ensure you keep your dog safe. Lock gates, fit closing springs, remove your dog if you fear your dog could make a mistake, or a visitor could.
DDA, Dangerous Dogs Act, Dogs Act 1871, seized dogs, police
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