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Dangerous dogs

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans the ownership, breeding, sale (both national and international) and exchange of certain types of fighting dogs. The ban currently covers purebreds and crossbreeds with the same physical and behavioural characteristics as the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

The maximum fine for having a banned dog is £5000 and/or 6 months in prison. The dog may also be destroyed.

The Act also applies to all dogs which are dangerously out of control in any public space, as well as on all private properties.

If your dog behaves aggressively towards any member of the public while in a public space, or to a lawful visitor or even trespassers in your garden or private outdoor space, it is committing an offence. If a dog acts in a way which makes a person fear they will be attacked, it may also be seen as an offence.

Only if a dog behaves aggressively towards, or attacks, a person gaining unlawful access to your private property (this only includes the actual building, not the garden or grounds) would an offence not have been committed.

The maximum fine is £5000 and/or 6 months in prison. The dog may also be destroyed.

A police officer or dog warden may seize a banned dog or a dog that is dangerously out of control.

If you wish to report a dangerous dog, please contact the police on 01642 326326 or the dog warden service on 01642 726001, alternatively you can complete the online form. The court can also issue a warrant for the police to enter a building and seize a dog.