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The Laws on Dangerous Dogs

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Sep 2023 | comments*Discuss
Dangerous Dogs Troublesome Dogs Laws

In the UK, there are several Acts in place which protect your rights when it comes to potentially dangerous or troublesome dogs, including The Noise Act 1996, with regards to the excessive barking of dogs, and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

This Act prohibits four specific breeds of dog from being owned, bred or sold. They are:

  • The Pit Bull Terrier
  • The Dogo Argentino
  • The Fila Brasiliero
  • The Japanese Tosa

It’s important to note that with regards to the Act, dangerous dogs are not simply classified by breed but by ‘type’ of dog. Therefore, when it comes down to the matter of whether a certain dog is permitted or not, it can often boil down to the physical characteristics and make up of the dog and whether or not there are sufficient similarities in the judgement of the court for a ban to be imposed and for further action to be considered.

In the case of the pit bull terrier, there are so many different variations of this breed and certain pit bull ‘types’ are permitted to be owned and are exempt from the law, although you must obtain an exemption certificate to verify that. However, these ‘types’ of dog must be kept muzzled and on a lead at all times when out in public places, even in parks and fields.

The Dangerous Dogs Act also applies to all dogs of any breed which might become dangerously out of control while out in public, where a dog attacks a person or threatens to do so. In such instances, the courts have the power to take a range of actions against the owner, which can include fines of up to £5,000, the dog being destroyed, and the possibility of the owner receiving a prison sentence in extreme cases. For your own safety, you should be aware of how to Deal With A Dangerous Dog when you are in a public place.

The Control Of Dogs Order 1992

This is one of the lesser known pieces of legislation relating to dogs, but it is still important for all dog owners to recognise its implications. The order requires that every dog out in a public place is required to wear a collar that has an identity tag with the name and address of the owner, even if the dog has been microchipped. Fines can be imposed if you do not do this and the police also have the power to seize any dog without a collar and to treat it as a stray animal.

The Dogs (Fouling Of Land) Act 1996

Fixed penalty notices can be issued to the owner of a dog who does not clean up and remove the mess after a dog has fouled in a public place. Alternatively, it can be matter for which the owner can be prosecuted.

The exemption to this law is where a dog is owned by a person who is registered blind. There are also certain areas in which the law cannot be enforced, which primarily relate to fouling on commercial woodland, agricultural land (but not on any footpaths which might be contained within it), rural common land and land which is predominantly marshland, moorland or heath.

Other Issues to be Aware of

The above Acts are the main ones to refer to which relate to dangerous and troublesome dogs, although if you have a guard dog on your property, you should also familiarise yourself with the Guard Dogs Act 1975 which has its own separate legislation.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990 also legislates that if you continually let your dog stray unattended, it can be seized and you will be charged for its return. And, if the dog has not been reclaimed after 7 days, it can be re-homed or even destroyed, although this will only usually be the case for persistent offenders.

It’s also important to recognise those specific areas which have been designated completely ‘dog free’ zones. Many children’s playgrounds are kept completely dog free for safety and health reasons, and signs will have been put up specifying this if it is the case.

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[Add a Comment]
Trevor Biscombe and Chris P Biscombe in the neighbourhoods of Hunstanton and Heacham are weird perverts who follow girls about and try and get them to get into their cars.People should be aware to keep away from them.
Trevor Biscombe Chri - 2-Sep-23 @ 5:15 PM
I own my property and the people who live on both sides of me seem to have a problem with me, they throw rubbish into my garden and other things. I put cctv in place, they called the police on me and said I was a pedo watching their kids. They have since recruited other people in the hood to vandalise my car what can I do to protect my property.
Sparkle - 26-Apr-22 @ 9:23 AM
I never understood the dogo argentino being a dangerous dog. I've had them for years. Very intelligent, loyal, and protective. My dogos are good with people and other animals. Does anyone know the reason for them being on the dangerous dogs list. My guess is because of the Cordoba fighting dog in their genes.
Chrisdis - 11-Jan-20 @ 6:36 PM
Wow!You all are a bunch of pansies across the pond huh?We love the American Pit Bull Terrier over here!Maybe Brexit will toughen up some of you lily-liver blokes (am I using the Queen's English correctly?)!
Fly420 - 10-Jan-20 @ 10:08 PM
The only dangerous animals in the world are the humans. Like my son said if humans never existed, the devil would not exist.
Medusa - 10-Jan-20 @ 1:00 PM
mydaughteris being harrassed bymoaning neighbourfirstlyshe blocksher parking space then complains about bnsthendirtynappy on gardenwhichis not granson as heis out of nappiesnowsayabout childstoysqueakngnowposted letterthrew letter box sayingabout child aged3running aboutin he dayplayingjustnormalnoiseshebangsceiling louder than any noisewe makeand when she atworkher2dogs barkmostdaybutmy daughterdont complain,I feelthis lady is bullyingmyyoung daughter,i spoken her few timesaboutparkingshesays oh sorry all sweetlyi am about same ageasher i feelshe doing it as mygirl is young. shethen addedon noteshe wantsquiet after7oclock whenbaby should be in bednow the child is in bedduring weekat7as mummyworkshestaysmine2 nightsdaysand playgrouptwo daysshe only everthere like onewhole day...whatdo we doaboutthismy daughters worriedshego landladyor council???
liza - 12-Dec-18 @ 10:19 AM
lewis - Your Question:
I have lived in council flat for 25 year I have never had a complaint ever. got new neighbour s above me a couple of months ago. to my shock I receive a letter from council stating there has been complaints made of me pasting music all day and all night. I am speechless to say I never have music on just my telly which is not at a loud level , so someone from is coming to see this Friday I am in shock as this a complete lie what can I do about this

Our Response:
Just state the facts and tell the council's representative about the kinds of noise that might be made by you and at what times.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Dec-17 @ 12:30 PM
I have lived in council flat for 25 year I have never had a complaint ever. got new neighbour s above me a couple of months ago. to my shock I receive a letter from council stating there has been complaints made of me pasting music all day and all night. I am speechless to say I never have music on just my telly which is not at a loud level , so someone from is coming to see this Friday I am in shock as this a complete lie what can I do about this
lewis - 12-Dec-17 @ 5:14 AM
I have a dangerous dog that keeps trying to attack me, technically shes my ex girlfriend but shes comes at me like a pitbull in tesco! Can someone take her off my hands please?
Bigsam - 15-Feb-17 @ 4:22 PM
We have new neighbours who moved in about 6 months ago at first eveything seemed fine and we were relieved that they were fairly quiet as we have had problems with other neighbours keeping hens taking in other peoples dog s etc. Anyway the new neighbours are now coming round to my house at least once a week at 5.30pm to give us an update on the new fence which we have agreed to pay for after the first two visits my husband went round to see them at a time that suited them despite it altering all our arrangements last weekend. They have been told on at least 3 occasions that 5.30is not a convenient time. I am now on edge every day . I feel my husband has been too polite to them and now it may have opened the floogates for a list of demands we are very quiet and just want to be left alone. The constant harrassment is now causing me health problems related to stress unable to sleep racing heart etc. cannot rleax in my own home at tea time
rose - 20-Jan-17 @ 11:05 AM
Ive had a bit of a nightmare trying to set up home down south.After viewing loads of houses with my boyfriend and saving hard we opted for a small mid terrace with a garden which i loved at first. I didn't feel very welcome the first week we moved in getting notes stuck on the windscreen and hearing some neighbor noises id rather not talk about. Because I wanted the house so much and felt quite comfortable with my partner I shot back to work and continued to pay bills and mortgage repayments and enjoyed all the jobs i did too. Both my parents and sister in law gave us some basic furniture because we arrived only with a mattress and some of my boyfriends stuff that night.I gave up work to get a feel of the house and Paul has started working from home. I can honestly say its been one of the most terrifiying experiences of my life either becasue ive realised to late we are incompatible or just dont fit into the street and neighbourhood. I feel like a real burden and unwanted due to all the ignorance and isolation and its made me ill. Never move to Worthing
net - 1-Jan-17 @ 11:13 PM
My neighbours adjoing my house have had 3 dogs since they moved here 2yrs ago,the first one I ended up being g offered as they said that due to having a third child on the way then they couldn't walk it,so I had this very placid,loving lurcher type male dog,thwn I was asked if I wanted their cat due to the cat hairs everywhere,sadly the cat died before I could take it on,then several wks ago they came home with a dogue de Bordeaux female puppy who was constantly sworn at andshouted at,that went to the dogue de Bordeaux charity,but then two wks later they have been given a male 10-12 mtj old male dog,same breed, from same charity,yet no home check has been done,this is by the charity's own admission and that of the couple too.I reported my concerns to the charity due to the dog attempting to attack my 3 cats and my dog whilst in the garden,the house is totally unfit for any dog,no gate,no secure garden,no secure fenceing,and the charity say they do not believey concern due to discussing my complaint with the couple concerned.also the husband is ' disablwd' and only takes the dog put for a walk after 9pm when it's dark,I love animals butworried that if that dog gets put on the street God knows how it would react to meeting a small child,they havea 6 mth old baby,a 3 yr old girl and an 8 yr old with behavioural issues is there anyone I can get some practical advice/help from,
Nessa - 19-Mar-16 @ 12:20 PM
Our East End neighbours, Colin and Linda Banyard, moved in ten years ago.Their back garden adjoins our side garden.From the get go it was overbearing behaviour from them.Me and my husband are both disabled, (I am partially sighted with macular degeneration and have mobility problems from arthritis, my husband has replacement knees, a severe lung disease and rheumatoid arthritis.)At first Banyard wanted all the trees, (which are his boundary,) down to allow his two guard dogs free access to our garden.Our garden is about five feet higher than his and we would have been able to see directly into his back bedrooms, whilst he could watch us continually in our garden, let alone our cats being considerably harassed.When I pointed this out to him, he said:- "I have been in your garden many times when you are out to get my dogs back."I advised him not to enter my garden again, without permission and all hell broke loose.He shot one of the cats in the spine, leaving a 2.2 bullet hole in the fence.The Hobby Bobbies did nothing.The cat died.He has us both on his passive infra red security cameras and knows instantly if we go out in our back garden so he comes out and him and his wife make a dreadful noise, both of them coughing like my husband, mimicking him. If I try to sit in the garden in the summer to listen to one of my audible books, he makes so much noise I cannot hear them so I have to go in.If I click for my one remaining cat with a jam pot lid, (I daren't call the cat's name or he and his wife put up ten minutes of imitation of my voice, making fun of me,)he bangs his wheelie bin for half an hour with a broom handle.I feel as if we are being both stalked and bullied but the Police will do nothing.
scriuffyrabbit - 7-Mar-16 @ 10:27 AM
@Honey. If your husband has assaulted you in any way you should report this to the police. As for the dog, you will need to try and discuss this with your husband, it should be housetrained after a month or so and should be at the stage where it will give things up if you catch it chewing. You could try crate training the puppy before it gets older, that will keep it out of harm's way when you're not able to watch it.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Dec-14 @ 11:31 AM
Hi there, My husband came home with a Rottweiller puppy a couple of months ago with no prior warning and the dog has turned our lives upside down. he tears into everything, the newly laid carpet, the wall paper, the dinning chairs, barbecue cover and cupboards. he does his pooh and wee everywhere inside and in the garden. my husband does not want to do much about it and turns a blind eye. Worst of all he beat me up over the dog today. Where do I go from here?
Honey - 14-Dec-14 @ 7:29 PM
I live in a property comprising 2 flats - the frontgarden is divided by a communal path.My neighbour allows her dog to defecate in her garden and leaves the mess for days before picking up. In the summer there are flies galore which I consider a health risk. I understand that if you let a dog defecate in a public place you risk getting a fine but I dont think there is any legislation for private areas. Some housing assoc. state in tenancy agreements that dog fouling must be removed immediately. My main bay windows overlook her garden.I have views to the sea so when visitors come they look outof windows to the sea but very often thedogs mess will bethere.I think there needs to be an update in legislation. .
Mo - 27-Nov-14 @ 5:36 PM
@spoony. Your dog should really be kept under control and away from strangers unless you are with it. Until you know who the other person is that reported your dog and learn more of the facts, you cannot really do much about it.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Aug-14 @ 12:54 PM
My staffy is now five years old I have had him since a puppy I never had any trouble with him till the 25 July and the postman said he attack him now I had a voice mail of my rent office telling there has been to two reports one from the postman and I know it the old man next door as I have never got on with him and what is my right as I know the seconde one is loads off rubbish what can I do as it's just a voicemail from them and it's happen once please help me as I am getting mad and I will fight for my dog right
Spoony - 1-Aug-14 @ 5:30 AM
I own my house my neighbour rents from a private landlord he has harrased us since the day we moved in 18months ago we have never informed anyone in case we wanted to sell .now we do because its got so bad its making me ill the neighbour has come out and been abusive to the estate agents and buyers one buyer made an offer then withdrew it when neighbour came out we have been in touch with his landlord but all he's done is have a word with him he is on an assured short term tenency we don't know what to do we have limited funds for solicitors but I feel I can't live there anymore he has spoilt our enjoyment of our house please help us
kitty - 27-Mar-14 @ 7:18 AM
I need advice i own my property but the house next door is rented, just under a year ago new neighbours moved in with a very large and aggressive male rottweiler. it has damaged my garden fence as it constantly jumps up when anyone leaves or enters my property, myself and my children are terrified that it will one day break through the fence. i have been in touch with the estate agents but they have just ignored my conerns. What else can i do?
lizzy - 10-May-13 @ 11:46 AM
Its not the dogs that should be punished or put to sleep. Dogs can be re trained throug rehab and taken away from irresponsible owners. Owners should be dealt with severely and EDUCATED. Perhaps all people owning dogs should have compulsory training on xanine behaviour and attend basic training.human beings are disgusting sometimes and same humans putting animals to sleep for a bite caused by an owner. LAW IS WRONG!!!!!!
Tracey Dempsey - 25-Apr-13 @ 2:43 PM
We have neighbours with four large dogs that are fouling in there back garden and the smell is awful, the couple have four children that could not play there. what can I do as Im afraid it will encourage rats ?
granpa billy - 15-Jan-13 @ 7:34 AM
My neighbours acquired a Rottweiller puppy about 3 years ago. The main problem is that for 3 years now we have had to put up with an incredibly scary, snarling dog that growls and barks at us when we are on our own property. If we pull up on the drive and get out of the car it barks like crazy at us, when we come out of our front door it barks like crazy at us, when we are in our garden it can make us jump out of our skins by suddenly barking and growling at us. Visitors to our house get feightened by it barking at them and children are terrified.My wife looks after very young children for the Homestart charity and we feel extremely worried should the dog get loose and get into our garden, which thankfully it has not been able to yet.I have spoken to our neighbours on a number of occasions over the past 2 years about the situation and while they say they will get the dog trained and introduce various measures to mitigate the situation it is no better in real terms.We have been very patient and extremely reasonable but whilst I feel they know it is a problem for us they are unable to resolve the situation satisfactorily.How do we stand stand legally in getting a permanent solution in place?Thank you.
Eaglemac50 - 6-Aug-12 @ 12:25 PM
I need advice for a similar situation to the above. I have a new neighbour who has a ferocious rottweiler that constantly threatens to attack me and visitors, over the fence. It leans on the fence barking ferociously or jumps up barking and growling. Do I have to put up with being intimidated in my own garden.
frog - 28-Jun-12 @ 7:03 PM
Seeking advice on neighbour playing football with her three dogs ( directly below my bedroom window ) this goes on daily till midnight. The constant thumping of the ball is making it impossible to sleep. She was abusive when asked to stop.Any advice welcome. I have reported this to housing and police, but this has had no affect on her she still continues with the noise.
damsin - 31-Jan-12 @ 2:57 AM
Hi Can you advise me on how to deal with a situation in which a new neighbour has moved in with a ferocious rottweiler guard dog that constantly threatens to attack me my visitors and my family including young children even when on our own land?Thanks
Capuchi - 9-Jan-12 @ 10:29 AM
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