Dog law - Blaby District Council

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Dog law


All dog owners should be aware of the laws relating to dog ownership. There are many different laws relating to dogs covering everything from owning an illegal breed, keeping dogs under proper control, and fouling.


Public Spaces Protection Order - Dogs on Lead - Fosse Meadows

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and Dangerous Dogs Amendment Act 1997

It is an offence to own or keep any of the types of dog listed below, unless it is on the Index of Exempted Dogs and is in compliance with the requirements. In any event it is an offence to breed from, sell or exchange (even as a gift) such a dog, irrespective of whether it has been placed on the Index of Exempted Dogs. Page 3 of Annex A provides further details about the Index.

Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 prohibits four types of dog:

  • the Pit Bull Terrier
  • the Japanese Tosa
  • the Dogo Argentino
  • the Fila Brasileiro

The 1991 Act was amended by the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997. The 1997 Act removed the mandatory destruction order provisions of the 1991 Act by giving the courts discretion on sentencing, and re-opened the Index of Exempted Dogs for those prohibited dogs which the courts consider would not pose a risk to the public. Only courts can direct that a dog can be placed on the list of exempted dogs.

Section 3 of the 1991 Act created a new offence of being an owner of a dog of any type or breed which is dangerously out of control.

If a dog is dangerously out of control - then the owner or the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence, or, if the dog while so out of control injures any person, an aggravated offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. In proceedings against a person who is the owner of a dog but at the material time was not in charge of it, it should be a defence for the accused to prove that the dog was at the material time in the charge of a person whom he reasonably believed to be a fit and proper person to be in charge of it.

A person found guilty of an offence may face imprisonment or a fine, and the courts may disqualify the offender from having custody of a dog for any period.

Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997

Dogs Act 1871

Under the Dogs Act 1871, any person may make a complaint to a magistrates court that a dog is dangerous, or report the matter to the police. If the court is satisfied that a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control, it may make an order for it to be controlled or destroyed.

Section 3(5) of the 1991 Act clarifies the application of the Dogs Act 1871. The strength of the 1871 Act is that as it is not part of the criminal law, it operates on a lower standard of proof and proceedings can be taken even when a criminal offence has not been committed.

It provides a remedy in a wide range of circumstances for the destruction, or imposition of controls, on dangerous dogs. A particular advantage of the 1871 Act is the fact that it applies everywhere, even in and around a private house which is why it is particularly appropriate for action on behalf of people such as postmen and women who are regularly at risk from dogs in front gardens.

Section 3(5)(b) of the 1991 Act enables a court to make an order under the 1871 Act that a dog is in future muzzled, kept on a lead, tethered or is excluded from specified places. This is a flexible provision which can be used to deal with a number of nuisance complaints about dogs including circumstances where dogs in one back garden cause fear of risk or injury to neighbours in another. Section 3(6) enables the neutering of male dogs in addition to, or instead of, other measures or controls.

Dogs Act 1871

Animals Act 1971

The Animals Act 1971 provides that the keeper of an animal is liable for any damage it causes, if he knows it was likely to cause such damage or injury unrestrained.

Civil liability arises from the Animals Act 1971. Anyone who is the keeper of a dog that causes damage by killing or injuring livestock is liable for the damage caused. For the purposes of the Act the keeper is the owner or the person in possession of the dog. The head of the household is liable where the owner is under the age of 16.

The keeper of the dog is not liable where the damage is due wholly to the fault of the person suffering it or if the livestock were killed or injured on land onto which they had strayed and either the dog belonged to the occupier or its presence was authorised by the occupier.

Under the Act there is a defence available to someone who is the subject of civil proceedings for killing or injuring a dog that was worrying or about to worry livestock. The defence can be used where there were no other means of ending or preventing the worrying or where the dog that had done the worrying was still in the vicinity and not under control and there were no practicable means of establishing ownership.

The definition of livestock in the 1971 Act is wider than in the 1953 Act. Here it includes pheasants, partridges and grouse whilst in captivity.

Animals Act 1971

Control of Dogs Order 1992

The Control of Dogs Order (1992) says that a dog in a public place must wear a collar bearing the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or engraved on a tag. Failure to comply with this order is an offence.

Any person found guilty of an offence can be prosecuted and potentially receive an unlimited fine.

Control of Dogs Order 1992

The Dogs Protection of Livestock Act 1953

Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 the owner and anyone else under whose control the dog is at the time will be guilty of an offence if it worries livestock on agricultural land. The dog must have been attacking or chasing livestock in such a way that it could reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering or, in the case of females, abortion or the loss or diminution of their produce.

An offence is not committed if at the time of the worrying the livestock were trespassing, the dog belonged to the owner of the land on which the trespassing livestock were and the person in charge of the dog did not cause the dog to attack the livestock. The definition of 'livestock' includes cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses and poultry. Game birds are not included.

Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953

Guard Dogs Act 1975

Only section 1 of the Guard Dogs Act 1975 has ever entered into force. This means that all the other sections relating to a licensing scheme are not in force and neither are there any plans to do so. Section 1, which is in force, relates to the control of guard dogs.

Section 1 states:

  1. A person shall not use or permit the use of a guard dog at any premises unless a person ('the handler') who is capable of controlling the dog is present on the premises and the dog is under the control of the handler at all times while it is secured so that it is not at liberty to go freely about the premises.
  2. The handler of a guard dog shall keep the dog under his control at all times while it is being used as a guard dog at any premises except:
    1. while another handler has control over the dog; or
    2. while the dog is secured so that it is not at liberty to go freely about the premises.
    3. A person shall not use or permit the use of a guard dog at any premises unless a notice containing a warning that a guard dog is present is clearly exhibited at each entrance to the premises.

The owner of a guard dog may be liable for any injury to a person under s 2(2) of the Animals Act 1971, unless they come within one of the exceptions in s 5.

Guard Dogs Act 1975

Types of dog prohibited in Great Britain


Dog Warden  
Regulatory Services  
Blaby District Council  
Council Offices  
Desford Road  
LE19 2EP

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0116 272 7555
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07442 535012 / 01509 842327
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Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, weekends and Bank Holidays 10am-8pm
These numbers are for stray dog collection only.
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0116 284 9786
Last updated: 07 February 2018

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