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Changes to the Dangerous Dog Act in the UK

I think the thing that bothers me most about ANY dog legislation is that it takes away an individual freedom and puts it in the hands of Government.  It erodes our right to choose and to be individuals and suffer all the consequences and enjoy all the rewards of that freedom.  The bigger the regulations get the smaller the individual freedoms and liberty becomes and that is the main problem.  When government acts in their perceived wisdom - the person suffers because a decision is taken away from them and certain acts are then mandated. It erodes the very thing that makes us human - choice, freedom, and Liberty.

So anyway - Though we need some laws to exist in a civil society - we are definitely over regulated.

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Replies (17)
  • **IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL UK DOG OWNERS** Changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act

    Are you aware of the changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act coming into force (13th of May 2014).

    No matter what size or breed your dog is, he will need to be on his best behavior from now on, or you could be prosecuted!

    They will affect you, even if you know your dog isn’t dangerous!

    Why? Because the changes affect all dogs of all breeds, and you can now be prosecuted just because another person believes your dog MAY injure them – They don’t have to bite!

    What’s concerning is what you may see as your dog being overly keen to chase, follow or play with a jogger may now be seen as your dog acting ‘Dangerously out of control’ in the eyes of the law. It’s all down to the opinion of that jogger and whether they felt ‘safe’ or not.

    Not only this, the new changes now cover private property, including your own front and back garden. Gone are the days when you could allow your dog to sit in the front garden with the gate just on the latch. If they take dislike to the postman and bark at them over-enthusiastically, you could be prosecuted under the new rules for not controlling your ‘dangerous dog’!

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    • And i thought that my country was weird but Uk wins

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      • These ridiculous laws are being passed. How do they stay in office. They need vote those people out of office.

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        • Hold on this is a big step I think. So not for a size and not for a breed but for behavior? And owner will be prosecuted? I would say, that it is a half way to the success.  What about joggers being chased by big black dogs like mine either shitzu ? I wouldn't like to be in their shoes. Well done, no more dogs racism. Now we will really see, how responsible owners are. 

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          • You dog does not have to be threatening. Your dog can be by your front door. It is not barking or growling. It is doing nothing more than sitting. A human can report your dog as being threatening and you will be found guilty of having a dangerous dog. This person can have an unrealistic fear of dogs and make the report. The person can firmly believe that any or every dog is dangerous and believe in their heart they are doing the right thing by reporting your innocent dog. It can be that the person does not like you  even if they have no reason not to like you and they report your dog.

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            • In trying to find the actual law that was supposed to be passed I came across this article in the Guardian. The full UK Law is attached below and the Dangerous Dogs portion is section 7 which starts on page 86.  Enjoy the read.  It does not see to be as bad as it is made out to be.

              "Dog owners who allow their pets to attack people face tougher prison sentences from Tuesday.

              Maximum prison sentences in England and Wales for allowing a dog to fatally attack someone have increased from two years to 14 years, while the term handed down when injury is caused is up from two years to five.

              For the first time, the Dangerous Dogs Act also includes a specific offence to protect assistance dogs, such as guide dogs, from attacks, with guilty owners facing up to three years in prison.

              Changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act will also mean dog owners can face prosecution if their dog attacks a person in their home or on any private property, except if they attack a trespasser.

              Two babies were killed by dogs earlier this year.

              Six-day-old Eliza-Mae Mullane was mauled by a family pet in Pontyberem, South Wales, in February. Less than two weeks later, 11-month-old Ava-Jayne Corless was killed by a pit bull terrier in Blackburn.

              Animal welfare minister Lord de Mauley said: "Dog attacks can have horrific consequences for victims and families and it is only right those responsible should face tough punishments.

              "Irresponsible dog owners will not only face longer prison sentences, but will also be liable for prosecution regardless of where an attack takes place, even in their own home.

              "This will give protection to those who provide vital services in the community - postal workers, nurses, utility workers - as well as people visiting family and friends."

              New preventative powers for the police and local authorities are being introduced including sending owners to dog training classes, repairing fencing to prevent dogs escaping and requiring dogs to be muzzled in public.

              Guide Dogs chief executive Richard Leaman said: "An attack on a guide dog can be devastating. It can rob someone with sight loss of their independence and freedom, leaving them virtually housebound.

              "We're delighted that irresponsible owners can now be given tougher sentences if their dog attacks an assistance dog.

              "With an average of 10 guide dogs being attacked every month, we're looking to the police to fully use their new powers to protect vulnerable people from these sometimes life-changing attacks."

              Dee McIntosh, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home's director of communications, said: "We believe if more people understood how to care for and be around dogs, there would be far fewer tragic incidents.

              "Dog attacks tear apart our communities and affect how we feel about pets and specific dog breeds.

              "Any dog, no matter what size or breed, can attack a child, adult or another dog. Training and caring for an animal, and being able to clearly read a dog's body language, are the only ways to help provide safety for the likely victims of attacks, especially children."

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              • The problem lies in that a person can say they felt threatened by a dog and the owner can be charged. If the dogs barks at you while in it yard as you pass by that dog is considered a dangerous dog. The act list dogo argentino, fila brasirio, pit bull, but not Stafford Terrier, and the tosa as dangerous banned breeds. It include crosses and type. Anything the court determines as type. This can and will include any dog that a person wants to make an issues out of.

                http://www.nawt.org.uk/advice/changes-dangerous-dogs-act-advice-owners

                https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/overview

                http://www.worcsregservices.gov.uk/animal-health--welfare/dog-warden-service/banned-breeds--dangerous-dogs.aspx

                http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/dangerous-dogs-act-dog-welfare-group-warns-owners-that-dog-aggression-in-the-home-could-now-lead-to-prosecution-9392507.html

                The problem is that the way in which the law is written it includes if your dog is barking in your yard. It does say this verbatim, but it uses the term antisocial behavior. This means the person does not have to be injured or bitten. You only have to make a claim that the dog displayed an antisocial behavior. This was explained to me by a well known trainer/behaviorist in the UK. He is also court appointed person that is called on in the dangerous dogs act. He does not believe pet owners should have dogs trained for protection. He doesn't believe that dog should be trained for protection other than police and military. But he does not agree with the dangerous dog act or the revision. But because he knows the law he is called on by the court to help enforce it. Even when he don't agree with the law he is bound to use it like it is written and help determine if a person/dog is or isn't guilty based upon the law instead of his personal opinion.

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                • Seriously guys, the way I see it. If you know your dog and if you can understand other people, that act isn't a problem. I walked lately passed the garden with a very low fence, I had my "bad dog" on a lead and two rottweilers jumped out of the house, stand against that little fence and appear aggressive. The owner ran after his dogs calling them home. All would be fine if the fence was higher. But in that case I felt like me and my dog were in danger.

                  Dogs barks as they are made for protection. But no one would report you for  having  your barking dog behind locked doors. As same if you don't let your pet to chase the postman. 

                  I believe, that act, if it's happen, will put to jail irresponsible idiots and saves some dogs life, as many of those ppl will start being careful.

                  I am looking forward to banned owners (for life) act - little dream, and I would love to hear, that they dealing with dogs fights as well.

                  It really sounds like prevent, rather then getting rid of a "bad dog". 

                  But I may be wrong. We shall see in practice.

                  I love my dog enough, to make sure she is not aggressive and won't do any harm. We have deal with our postman, he is knocking to the window and leaving parcels on my stairs, either in neighbors house, letter box installed, dog out in a garden, but fence is solid. And we treat stranger's kids with no trust - means we walk across the road, just in case the little alien(means kid) starts, panicking, screaming and jumping. As I know my dog will read it as " common! play!".

                  I believe that all of us had little situation like this and you know exactly what I am talking about. Dogs owners knows better how to deal with things, and it's easier for us to understand and avoid it, then blame others for their fear. At the end of the day, their ours dogs and ours responsibility, as" your dog - your poop" ;)

                  Have a good day;)

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                  • I posted the change but it seems to not be read.. so here goes.

                    (3) In section 4 (destruction and disqualification orders) after subsection (1A)
                    there is inserted—
                    (1B) For the purposes of subsection (1A)(a), when deciding whether a dog
                    would constitute a danger to public safety, the court—
                    (a) must consider—
                    (i) the temperament of the dog and its past behaviour, and
                    (ii) whether the owner of the dog, or the person for the time
                    being in charge of it, is a fit and proper person to be in
                    charge of the dog, and
                    (b) may consider any other relevant circumstances.”


                    (4) Section 4B (destruction orders otherwise than on a conviction) is amended as
                    follows—
                    (a) in subsection (1), after “section 5(1) or (2) below” there is inserted “or in
                    exercise of a power of seizure conferred by any other enactment”;
                    (b) after subsection (2) there is inserted—
                    “(2A) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a), when deciding whether a
                    dog would constitute a danger to public safety, the justice or
                    sheriff—
                    (a) must consider—
                    (i) the temperament of the dog and its past
                    behaviour, and
                    (ii) whether the owner of the dog, or the person for
                    the time being in charge of it, is a fit and proper
                    person to be in charge of the dog, and
                    (b) may consider any other relevant circumstances.”

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                    • I've got a little bit lost Gary;)

                      I understand what you are saying and all  act. I can see there more  common sense, then it used to be. And in only mine opinion, that act will do much better for dogs and owners. ;)

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                      • The law is specific in that if the intruder comes into your home the dog will not be considered a dangerous dog. But it leaves out if your dog is in your garden. We call it yard, they call it garden. So a dog can't bark at someone while the dog is in its yard. If it does someone can report it as a dangerous dog.

                        There are things I consider bad about their law even before the things added to it.

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                        • I think the thing that bothers me most about ANY dog legislation is that it takes away an individual freedom and puts it in the hands of Government.  It erodes our right to choose and to be individuals and suffer all the consequences and enjoy all the rewards of that freedom.  The bigger the regulations get the smaller the individual freedoms and liberty becomes and that is the main problem.  When government acts in their perceived wisdom - the person suffers because a decision is taken away from them and certain acts are then mandated. It erodes the very thing that makes us human - choice, freedom, and Liberty.

                          So anyway - Though we need some laws to exist in a civil society - we are definitely over regulated.

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                          • I believe and hope the government intent when creating the law was good. But the outcome was horrible IMO. It was created because of fear. Much like our government that passes laws that are not beneficial and cause more undue stress. If we consider 911. It changed how we fly, how we go to baseball, football, etc games. Should we have made changes to security? Yes. but they went overboard.

                            So in creating laws about travel, attending games, and BSL, and dangerous dogs acts it is called social control through fear. They control the public through fear. Fear of terrorist, fear of deaths due to dog bites, etc. The public begins to accept that the fears are rational. The government uses this to control mindless people.

                            Citizens in believe the propaganda and it become mass hysteria. If a dog barks it is anti social behavior. Someone was kill and a gun was used. Now all guns are bad. This list can grow.

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                            • I agree with that, definitely. Some of points are silly, i.e dogs barks is natural thing and to stop it they will have to cut their tongues, either banned dogs at all. which is unrealistic. And I believe that we have enough clever people in  government  to realize that.  Gary has included in his post some parts of the act, where it says, that court has to consider previous dog behavior and  if the owner is the right person to handle it. So heads up.

                              Second thing - I can't believe, that in 21 century anyone can get access to your private house or garden, without permission and knowledge or will. I mean if you don't wish the postman to come inside a house, and if you put letter box outside on the wall, than there is nothing to do with a dog. If he wouldn't try to get to the house through the window, I am more than sure, that dog wouldn't bite him. And if it's the parcel, I believe, that no one of us will let the dog out, knowing it can hurts the postman. Other thing if  there is no householder to pick up the parcel, postman doesn't have a key to enter the house - that's mean he is not in danger. I am joking here. little bit. But logically thinking with precedence  law system in the UK, they will have to sort that little issues soon or later.

                               

                              Fear is and always been a part of any political system, doesn't matter where and when. 500 years ago they used to burned  women at the stake for having black cats and growing herbs in back yards.

                              But today we can use logic and defense ourselves by using common sense, instead of shaking and agreed with all what they are saying.

                              Also UK is still a member of the EU, I am sure that in critical situation there will be solution. I will have a look.

                              However I do believe, that if we look after our dogs properly, nothing bad would happen.

                              How many times you guys getting annoyed while walking your pet. And there is a guy with a dog off the lead calling a problem?

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acu9DyJALts

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkUTPHdwyxk

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unBmdRaaq_A

                              I've copied few links here. Dogs are brilliand, but they are dominants in the pack, over  toys sometimes.. You can disagree with that, but I believe in many situation can end up with unpredictable wild dragon. Probably that's why before protection training, trainer always does "switch off/" check.

                              I wouldn't like to be put in a situation, where I have to risk my own hand to save mine or other dog. I am happy that in the UK we don't have that many stray dogs, as in Mexico, and that actually means, that they do care, and this system isn't that bad.

                              And as you can see on the first link, freedom is not always the best solution - especially in a dog's case. The guy is calling his dog, but with no effect, as there is something more interesting for his little friend . I was watching that with a frozen heart, that the other dog will get hurt by  car.

                              Law is a law. People will always break a rules a little bit. So there is a point to make it more strict. 

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                              • The other side of that act means, that if you know ppl in your neighborhood, who use dogs for fight, you will be able to report the owner. Which I am very happy with. As that is just cruel, and up to now battle against those ppl was pointless.

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                                • People break the law everywhere. In every place that I'm aware of those people in the video are breaking the law. We have leash laws. If the dogs were on a leash much of this could be avoided. There are stray dogs in many places because people get dogs that should not. The dogs are left tp fend for themselves. Some people don't take proper precaution to secure their dogs. Many people breed dogs that should only be pets and not breeders. These dogs end up in homes of people that are not responsible pet owners or roaming the streets or in a shelter.

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                                  •  

                                    if you know ppl in your neighborhood, who use dogs for fight, you will be able to report the owner.

                                     So prior to this law you were not able to report them for dog fighting? I thought it was illegal in the UK already.

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