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Dangerous Dogs


Members of this set have substantial experience in this specialised and widely misunderstood field. We receive regular instructions in high profile cases and can accept briefs under public access.

Members of Chambers have received specialised training upon this subject and we have a team of counsel at all levels of seniority.

The most common prosecutions arise from the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Two main offences were created by that statute.

The first is under S1 Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 which makes it an offence to possess a dog of a specific breed. Usually the subject of this legislation is the pit bull terrier. If you possess a pit bull terrier that is not upon the Index of Exempted Dogs you are committing a criminal offence. However, since the Dangerous Dogs Amendment Act 1997 you do have a reasonable chance of avoiding the destruction of your dog if you can show to a Court that the animal is not a danger to the public.

The second is under S3 Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.This section applies to every other dog regardless of its breed or type. This is a criminal offence which can be brought against either the keeper or the person in charge of a dog that is dangerously out of control in a public place. If whilst so out of control your dog injures a person then there is an aggravated offence that can be prosecuted. If an incident takes place in a private place where the dog is not permitted to be then you can be prosecuted under S3 Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. If your dog injures a person then the law requires the Court to presume that it should be destroyed. A destruction order can generally be avoided if you can show that your dog is not a risk to the public.

Members of Chambers also deal with civil complaints brought under the Dogs Act 1871.

If an incident takes place in a private place or involves an injury to another animal then the Crown will usually use the Dogs Act 1871.S2 Dogs Act 1871 is merely a complaint to the Magistrates Court and involves a request that the keeper be required to keep the dog under proper control or destroyed. Proceedings can only be brought against the owner of the dog. It is important to note that a single incident is unlikely to be considered sufficient to prove that the dog is dangerous unless the Court accepts that the incident is an exceptional one. A Court is free to order either destruction of the dog or a Control Order or to make no order at all. Destruction orders under S2 Dogs Act 1871 are very rare.

Tenants regularly travel throughout the UK to undertake work of this kind.

We accept instructions from solicitors, public bodies and via public access.

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