dog law facts and controls
We have put together some basic facts we think you should be aware of and why it is advised to use professional dog walkers if unsure.
Dogs out of control
ItвЂ™s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, eg:
in a public place
in a private place (eg a neighbourвЂ™s house or garden)
in the ownerвЂ™s home
The law applies to all dogs.
Out of control
Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:
makes someone worried that it might injure them
A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if:
it injures someoneвЂ™s animal
the owner of the animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal
A farmer is allowed to kill your dog if itвЂ™s worrying their livestock.
You can be fined up to ВЈ5,000 and/or sent to prison for up to 6 months if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.
If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to 5 years and/or fined. If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with вЂmalicious woundingвЂ™.
If you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years and/or get an unlimited fine.
If you allow your dog to injure a guide dog you can be sent to prison for up to 3 years and/or fined.
If you would like us to help with particular dog behaviour problem click here
In the Uk, itвЂ™s against the law to own certain types of dog. These are the:
Pit Bull Terrier
ItвЂ™s also against the law to:
breed from a banned dog.
Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like, rather than its breed or name.
ExampleIf your dog matches many of the characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type.
If you have a banned dog, the police or local council dog warden can take it away and keep it, even if:
it isnвЂ™t acting dangerously
there hasnвЂ™t been a complaint
The police may need permission from a court to do this. If your dog is in:
a public place, the police donвЂ™t need a warrant
a private place, the police must get a warrant
a private place and the police have a warrant for something else (like a drugs search), they can seize your dog
A police or council dog expert will judge what type of dog you have and whether it is (or could be) a danger to the public. Your dog will then either be:
kept in kennels while the police (or council) apply to a court
While you wait for the court decision, youвЂ™re not allowed to visit your dog.
You can give up ownership of your dog but you canвЂ™t be forced to. If you do, your dog could be destroyed without you even going to court.
Going to court
ItвЂ™s your responsibility to prove your dog is not a banned type.
If you prove this, the court will order the dog to be returned to you. If you canвЂ™t prove it (or you plead guilty), youвЂ™ll be convicted of a crime.
The maximum penalty for having a banned dog against the law is a ВЈ5,000 fine and/or 6 months in prison. Your dog will also be destroyed.
Index of Exempted Dogs (IED)
If your dog is banned but the court thinks itвЂ™s not a danger to the public, it may put it on the IED and let you keep it.
YouвЂ™ll be given a Certificate of Exemption. This is valid for the life of the dog.
Your dog must be:
kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public
kept in a secure place so it canвЂ™t escape
As the owner, you must:
take out insurance against your dog injuring other people
be aged over 16
show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days
let the IED know if you change address, or your dog dies
Dog Control Orders (DCOs).
Local councils in England and Wales can issue Dog Control Orders (DCOs).
These mean that in public areas with DCOs, you may have to:
keep your dog on a lead
put your dog on a lead if told to by a police officer, police community support officer or someone from the council
stop your dog going in certain places вЂ“ like farmland or parts of a park
limit the number of dogs you have with you (this applies to professional dog walkers too)
clear up after your dog
DCOs donвЂ™t apply to private land if you have permission from the land owner or person who controls the land.
If you ignore a DCO, you can be fined:
ВЈ50 on the spot (a вЂFixed Penalty NoticeвЂ™)
up to ВЈ1,000 if it goes to court
You canвЂ™t be fined if youвЂ™re a registered blind dog owner.
DCOs in your area
Local councils must let the public know where DCOs are in place.
ExampleIf dogs arenвЂ™t allowed in a park, there must be sig