Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Public Consultation on Dangerous Dogs


The above text is a direct link, though I have cut and paste details for you to scan through as below:


Does current dangerous dogs legislation adequately protect the public and encourage
responsible dog ownership?
9TH March 2010
www.defra.gov.uk
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR
Telephone 020 7238 6000
Website: www.defra.gov.uk
© Crown copyright 2007

Copyright in the typographical arrangement and design rests with the Crown.
This publication (excluding the royal arms and departmental logos) may be reused
free of charge in any format or medium provided that it is re-used
accurately and not used in a misleading context. The material must be
acknowledged as crown copyright and the title of the publication specified.
Information about this publication and further copies are available from:
Rebecca Kenner
Animal Welfare Act Implementation Team
Area 8B LMB
c/o 17, Smith Square,
London,
SW1P 3JR
Tel: 020 7238 5801
Email: animalwelfareconsultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk
This document is available on the Defra website:
www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/dangerous-dogs/index.htm .
Published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
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Consultation Document:
Contents:
Part I: This consultation
1. Scope of this consultation
2. Basic information
3. Definitions
Part II: The current situation
1. Background
2. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
3. The Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997
4. The Dogs Act 1871, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989
Part III: Proposed actions
Possible options:
1) An extension of criminal law (i.e. section 3 of the 1991 Act) to all places, including
private property
2) Additions or amendments to (including possible repeal of) section 1 of the 1991 Act
3) Repeal of the 1997 Dangerous Dogs Act to prevent any more prohibited types of dog
being added to the Index
Other options for consideration:
4) The introduction of Dog Control Notices
5) A requirement that all dogs are covered by third-party insurance
6) A requirement that all dogs, or puppies, are microchipped
7) More effective enforcement of the existing law, including a consolidation of existing
statutes into one new updated Act
Part IV: Responding to this consultation
Part V: Consultation Criteria
Annex A – Summary of questions
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
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Part I: This consultation
1. Scope of this consultation:
1. This consultation is seeking views as to whether current legislation relating to
dangerous dogs adequately protects the public and encourages responsible dog
ownership.
2. Legislation on dangerous dogs is a partially devolved matter. Scotland has its own
Dangerous Dogs Act and Northern Ireland its own legislation on this issue. This
consultation applies to dangerous dogs in England and Wales.
2. Basic information:
To: We would like to hear from those responsible for enforcing the law
relating to dogs, those who have been the victim(s) of dog attacks,
animal welfare organisations, veterinarians, dog homes, dog owners,
and anyone else concerned about dangerous dogs.
Body/bodies
responsible for the
consultation:
Defra - Animal Welfare Act Implementation Team.
Duration: 12 weeks.
Enquiries: Enquiries about the content or scope of the consultation can be
addressed to Rebecca Kenner on 020 7238 5801, email
animalwelfareconsultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk
Requests for hard copies can also be obtained from the above email
address or Defra, Animal Welfare Act Implementation Team, Area 8B,
No 9 Millbank, c/o 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR or tel: 020
7238 5801
How to respond: Please send responses to either: Rebecca Kenner, Defra, Animal
Welfare Act Implementation Team, Area 8B, No 9 Millbank, c/o 17
Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR
or by email:
animalwelfareconsultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk clearly stating the name
of the consultation in the subject header e.g. Dangerous Dogs.
Additional ways to
become involved:
Preliminary discussions have already taken place with a number of
relevant stakeholders so this will be a purely written exercise.
However, depending on the outcome of the consultation,
consideration may be given to wider stakeholder involvement.
After the
consultation:
A copy of the responses will be placed in the Defra library at Ergon
House, London. We will also summarise all responses and aim to
place this summary by a date to be confirmed on our website at:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/dangerous-dogs/index.htm .
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3. Definitions
1. For the purpose of this consultation, we shall use the definition of “dangerously out of
control” as it is used in section 10(3) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. This defines
“dangerously out of control” as: “a dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control
on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will
injure any person, whether or not it actually does so, but references to a dog injuring a
person or there being grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will do so do not
include references to any case in which the dog is being used for a lawful purpose by a
constable or a person in the service of the Crown”.
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Part II: The current situation
Background
1. There has been growing concern over public safety issues relating to dangerous and
status dogs. The term „status dog‟ describes the ownership of certain types of dogs
which are used by individuals to intimidate and harass members of the public. These
dogs are traditionally, but not exclusively, associated with young people on inner city
estates and those involved in criminal activity. In recent years, incidents, attacks and
fighting of these dogs has increased and some of these incidents have involved
children resulting in tragic fatalities. This is an issue which the Government takes
very seriously.
2. The Metropolitan Police alone have reported a rise in the number of dangerous dogs
processed through the courts from 35 in 2002/3 to 719 in 2008/9 and in March 2009
they set up a new Status Dogs Unit to specifically address these issues. In 2008, the
RSPCA received 188 calls related to dog-fighting in the street or park involving young
people.
3. Stakeholders have informed us that there is an increasing number of dangerous dogs
which are difficult to re-home. The resources required to enforce the law places an
increasing financial burden on those responsible: the Metropolitan Police spent £1.35
million last year kennelling seized dogs while waiting for an outcome at court. The
cost to the health service and the court service has not been estimated.
4. In 2007, following a number of tragic dog attacks on young children, Defra conducted
a thorough review of dangerous dogs legislation. Defra consulted all chief officers of
police in England and Wales to find out their views on how effective the dangerous
dogs legislation is, what could be done to improve enforcement, and whether any
parts of the law needed to be changed. Defra discussed the results of the
consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). The conclusion of
this review was that, while there was a range of powers available to tackle dangerous
dogs, the use of these powers by the police and partner agencies was not consistent
and more needed to be done to raise awareness of the current law and ensure its
enforcement.
5. To this end, Defra has been working on a number of initiatives to better help
enforcement of the law:
 In June 2008 Defra published an „easy to read‟ leaflet for the public on dangerous
dogs law („Control of Dogs – the Law and You‟). The leaflet was drafted in
collaboration with the RSPCA and the Metropolitan Police (as well as the Dogs Trust
and the Kennel Club).
 In April 2009, Defra published new guidance for enforcers of the law. The leaflet
was written in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police and the RSPCA and sets out
the current tools and powers available to enforcement agencies to tackle dangerous
dogs.
 In May 2009 Defra commissioned a research project to study human-directed dog
aggression. The project will last for 15 months, ending in December 2010, and will
entail both a systematic review of relevant research as well as a meta-analytical
study into the risk factors for human-directed dog aggression.
 In July 2009, Defra provided £20,000 to help fund ACPO training courses for new
Dog Legislation Officers, because every police force should have, or have access to,
a Dog Legislation Officer who has a thorough knowledge of dangerous dogs law.
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 In December 2009, Defra published a code of practice for the welfare of dogs which
provides advice on owning a dog and responsible dog ownership.
6. Defra is currently working with the Ministry of Justice to see what can be done to
improve the way courts handle dangerous dogs cases, to help ensure dogs are
kennelled for as short a time as possible to help reduce the costs to police. Guidance
to courts on the handling of dangerous dogs cases is currently being prepared, and
Defra has also had an article “Cave canem” published in the journal „Criminal Law
and Justice Weekly‟ 6th October 2009 (which is read by practitioners in the
Magistrates‟ Courts) on dangerous dogs law and how courts can improve the
processing of cases.
7. The Home Office has recently sponsored the passage of the Policing and Crime Act
2009 which includes a new prohibition within the gang-related violence provisions to
prevent gang members from being in charge of an animal in a public place if it has
been proven that the gang member has engaged in, or encouraged or assisted,
gang-related violence.
8. More widely, many animal welfare organisations and local councils are tackling the
problem of dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog ownership. Some local authorities
have already implemented compulsory microchipping, such as Wandsworth in
London (Under rules introduced in January 2009, all council tenants and
leaseholders must get their animals chipped and registered on a borough-wide
database.) Organisations such as the RSPCA are actively involved in the
enforcement of the law where it affects the welfare of dogs (such as in cases of dog
fighting) as well as participating in local initiatives that involve local agencies (the
local police force, local authorities, housing associations and local rescue centres)
working together to promote responsible dog ownership. Other organisations such
as the Dogs Trust and the Blue Cross are also extremely active in providing
information and guidance to dog owners, as well as promoting the use of
microchipping on all dogs.
9. However, concerns about the current law continue to be expressed in Parliament and
are also shared by law enforcement bodies and veterinary and animal welfare
organisations.
10. We therefore feel that it is appropriate to give interested stakeholders and the
general public the opportunity to express their views on whether it is necessary to
amend the current laws relating to dangerous dogs and if so, how these might be
changed.
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The current legislation
11. Two regimes, a criminal and a civil, exist to deal with dangerous dogs. The
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, including the amendments in the Dangerous Dogs
(Amendment) Act 1997, created criminal offences in relation to all dangerous dogs.
Other legislation, including the Dogs Act 1871, contain civil remedies. The Dogs Act
1871 contains important powers that are still effective today. The Dangerous Dogs
Act 1989 complements the Dogs Act 1871, and provides a court with additional
powers, on complaint, about dangerous dogs.
12. Powers under the two regimes exist to: order destruction of dangerous dogs;
disqualify individuals from owning a dog; require individuals to keep their dog under
control; fine; and (in some circumstances) imprison owners of dangerous dogs.
13. It is also an offence to deliberately use an animal as a weapon to injure someone; a
successful prosecution under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 could result
in a maximum sentence of life imprisonment where the defendant intended to cause
really serious bodily harm and such harm was caused. Where it cannot be proven
that a defendant intended to cause really serious harm and/or the injury is not really
serious, the maximum sentence is five years imprisonment. Where a defendant
deliberately uses their dog to cause someone to apprehend immediate unlawful
violence but no injury is caused, an offence of common assault (causing someone to
apprehend immediate unlawful violence) could still have been committed contrary to
the Criminal Justice Act 1988. This offence is punishable by a fine and/or a prison
sentence of a maximum of six months. In addition, under sections 34 and 35 of the
Policing and Crime Act 2009 ("Injunctions to prevent gang-related violence"), the
court can grant an injunction against a person forbidding him/her from having charge
of a particular species of animal in a particular place. This consultation deals with
dog-specific laws only.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
14. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was passed following a number of severe attacks on
members of the public (predominantly by pit bull terriers). At the time there was also
concern that there had been a rise in ownership of a number of other types of dog
which had been bred specifically for fighting.
15. It was therefore considered that prohibitions should be placed on four types of dog
that had been identified as specifically “bred for fighting”. Section 1 of the Dangerous
Dogs Act 1991 bans the ownership of four specific types of dog:
- pit bull terrier
- Japanese tosa
- Fila Brasiliero – added by Order in 1991
- Dogo Argentino – added by Order in 1991
16. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 refers to “the types known as” rather than “breeds”,
as the pit bull terrier and Japanese tosa are not officially recognised breeds in the
United Kingdom, and there are no breed standards. This section of the Dangerous
Dogs Act 1991 also refers to types which appear “to be bred for fighting or to have
the characteristics of a type bred for that purpose”.
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17. It is an offence to own or keep any of the above types of prohibited dog (“section 1
dogs”), unless the dog is on the Index of Exempted Dogs (“the Index”) and is in
compliance with the requirements of the Index. The Index was set up immediately
before the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 came into force so that owners of section 1
dogs, rather than having to destroy their dogs, could claim exemption from its
banning provisions and such section 1 dogs on the Index could live out their natural
lives. The intention was the eventual elimination of the population of section 1 dogs.
18. Exemptions were only granted if stringent conditions were met. Exempted section 1
dogs had to be neutered, tattooed and microchipped, and when in a public place had
to be on a lead, in the charge of someone over 16 years old and muzzled. Owners
also had to maintain insurance against their dogs injuring third parties and to provide
continuous evidence of that third-party insurance to the Index.
19. In 1991 owners who satisfied the Index that they had complied with the requirements
were issued with a Certificate of Exemption. Some 8,600 pit bull terriers were
notified to the police and the Index with a view to registration. Of these, 5,223
applicants complied fully with the requirements by the relevant dates and were
issued with a Certificate of Exemption.
20. In addition, section 1 of the Act provided for a scheme for the payment to owners of a
section 1 dog who arranged for them to be destroyed before 30 November 1991.
294 owners took up the offer at a cost to the Government of £14,700 (£25 was
available in the case of a pit bull terrier, with £25 payable to a veterinarian in respect
of the costs of the euthanasia of the dog).
21. The Index was destined to cease operating when the last of the original 5,223
registered section 1 dogs died.
22. It is an offence to breed, or breed from any of the section 1 dogs. It is also an offence
to sell or exchange, or advertise or offer for sale or exchange, any of the section 1
dogs.
23. The police and local authorities have powers of seizure under the Dangerous Dogs
Act 1991. In addition, the police are able to search premises for such dogs by
warrant. The maximum penalty for illegal possession of a prohibited dog is a fine of
£5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment.
24. After 30th November 1991 it was an offence to have a section 1 dog that was not on
the Index of Exempted Dogs. Any dog suspected of being a prohibited type could be
seized. If the seized dog was then found to be of a prohibited type, the Court had to
order its destruction. (See paragraph 32 below relating to the Dangerous Dogs
(Amendment) Act 1997.)
Section 2 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
25. Section 2 (1) provides for restrictions to be made in relation to “other specially
dangerous dogs” (other than section 1 dogs “bred for fighting”). The effect of a
section 2(1) Order would simply be to require breeds of dogs specified in the Order
(“section 2 dogs”) to be “muzzled and kept on a lead in the charge of someone over
16 years old when in public”. It is an offence to breach the requirement, and the
section 2 dog could be destroyed by order of a Court. The maximum penalty would
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be a fine of £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment. No Orders in relation to “other
specially dangerous dogs” have been made under this provision.
Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
26. Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 creates an offence where a dog of any
type or breed (including a section 1 dog) is dangerously out of control in a public
place. Additionally, an offence is committed where, in a private place where it has no
right to be, any dog injures or causes reasonable apprehension of injury. If anyone is
injured, the offences become “aggravated”, which makes the offence triable on
indictment exposing the owner to a higher criminal penalty.
27. The police and local authorities have powers to seize any dog in a public place which
appears to be dangerously out of control. With a warrant, the police can also enter
any premises and seize any dog if they believe it has been involved in an offence.
28. “Public place” means any street, road or other place (whether or not enclosed) to
which the public have, or are permitted to have, access whether for payment or
otherwise and includes the common parts of a building containing two or more
separate dwellings.
29. After conviction the court has the power to impose a muzzling order or other
measures to keep the dog under control on any dog of any type. Section 4(5)(b) of
the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 enables a Court to order that male dogs may be
neutered in addition to, or instead of, other measures or controls.
30. A person found guilty of a “dangerously out of control” offence under section 3 may
face 6 months imprisonment or a fine of £5,000, or both, and the courts may
disqualify the offender from having custody of a dog for any period. Where an injury
is caused by a dog which is dangerously out of control in a public place, or an injury
caused in a private place where the dog is not permitted to be, the offence is
aggravated and if tried on indictment the fine is unlimited and the maximum sentence
of imprisonment is 2 years. The dog may also be destroyed, and the courts may
disqualify the offender from having custody of a dog for any period.
The Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997
31. A number of organisations, including the Kennel Club, the Dogs Trust and the
Metropolitan Police formed the Dangerous Dogs Act Reform Group to assess how to
improve the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
32. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was then amended in 1997. In the main this
amendment repealed the mandatory destruction orders that courts applied to dogs
found to be of those types prohibited by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. It is now
possible for section 1 dogs to be added to the Index of Exempted Dogs, but only at
the direction of the court and only if the necessary conditions are met. In determining
whether the section 1 dog could be placed on the Index the Court must be satisfied
that it represents no danger to public safety. In such a case the Court makes a
Contingent Destruction Order and the owner then has two months to meet all the
preliminary requirements (neutering, tattooing, microchipping and providing evidence
of third-party insurance) before a Certificate of Exemption is issued and the dog
released back to the owner.
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33. No owner may „apply‟ to have their dog added to the Index – it is entirely a matter for
the courts to decide whether a dog can be added to the Index. New exemptions can
only be authorised at the discretion of the courts once a dog has been seized and
adjudicated on. As of January 2010, there are approximately 800 live dogs on the
Index, with approximately 10,000 dogs having been added to the Index in total since
1991.
34. Table 1 below shows the number of convictions and sentences under sections 1 and
3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991(1)(2) and numbers of prohibited dogs added to
the Index of Exempted Dogs – 2004 to 20091 for England and Wales.
Section 3 Section 1
Year Persons found
guilty of
offences
under Section
3 (dog of any
type or breed
being
dangerously
out of control,
etc)
Sentences
imposed on those
found guilty of an
offence under
Section 3
Persons
found guilty
of offences
under
Section 1
(ownership
of illegal pit
bull terriers
etc.)
Sentences
imposed on those
found guilty of an
offence under
Section 1
Section 1 dogs
permitted to be
added to the
Index (actual
certificates of
exemption issued
in brackets)4
Fine Custody Fine Custody
2004 547 203 5 17 16 0 6 (6)
2005 605 210 3 11 4 2 1 (1)
2006 658 232 8 6 3 0 6 (6)
2007 703 238 13 74 12 12 185 (141)
2008
(3)
763 247 21 115 54 6 330 (255)
2009 Not yet
available
- -
Not yet
available
- -
396 (314)
1
(1) The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When
a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is
imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the
statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that
these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a
consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account
when those data are used.
(3) Excludes Convictions for Cardiff magistrates' court for April, July and August 2008
Source; Evidence & Analysis Unit, Ministry of Justice
(4) The first figure in this column is the number of dogs courts have ordered to be added to the Index of Exempted Dogs (which
may be other than on a conviction), the figure in brackets is the number of Certificates of Exemption eventually issued by the
Index. Dogs that do not receive a Certificate of Exemption within 2 months of the order are usually destroyed. Source: Index of
Exempted Dogs
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Table 2 - The table below extracted from Table 1 shows the increasing number of section 1
dogs being added to the Index by Court Order
Year Orders made Orders complied
with
Percentage of
Orders complied
with (nearest %)
2007 185 141 76
2008 330 255 77
2009 396 314 79
35. The statistics show that in about just under a quarter of the cases Contingent
Destruction Orders are not complied with by the owner in the two-month period
stipulated. This suggests the Courts and owners are over-optimistic regarding
immediate ability and willingness to comply. These 201 ineffective Orders reflect an
additional 33 years of kennelling costs for the police (201 dogs at 2 extra months
each = 402 months).
Table 3 - The number of live dogs (as far as known) on the Index of Exempted Dogs for
which the insurance has not been renewed – 2004 to 2009 (source: Index of Exempted
Dogs)
Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Number 9 5 0 0 32 124
36. These statistics show that an increasing number of owners who have had their dogs
added to the Index are subsequently not keeping up the third-party insurance
requirement of the Index. It is possible that this may be indicative that some of the
other requirements (muzzled and on a lead in the charge of someone over 16 years‟
old at all times when in a public place) are not being adhered to either.
The Dogs Act 1871, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989
Civil remedies
37. The 1871 Dogs Act provides courts with powers to impose restrictions or controls on
any dog it considers to be dangerous. Unlike the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the
Dogs Act 1871 applies everywhere, including in and around a private house where a
dog is allowed to be. Any person can make a complaint under the Dogs Act 1871 to a
Magistrates' Court that a dog is dangerous.
38. Where a Magistrates' Court makes an order under the Dogs Act 1871 directing a
dog to be destroyed, it may also, under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1989 -
(a) appoint a person to undertake its destruction and require any person having
custody of the dog to deliver it up for that purpose; and
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(b) if it thinks fit, make an order disqualifying the owner from having custody of a dog
for such period as is specified in the order.
39. Any person who fails to comply with an order under the Dogs Act 1871 to keep a dog
under proper control, or deliver it up for destruction under the Dangerous Dogs Act
1989 is liable for a fine not exceeding £1,000 and the court may also disqualify that
person from having custody of a dog.
40. The strength of the Dogs Act 1871 is that, as the civil standard of proof applies, an
order may be made by the court on the balance of probabilities that a dog is
dangerous.
Dog Control Orders
41. Dog Control Orders (DCOs) were introduced by the Clean Neighbourhoods and
Environment Act 2005. They enable local authorities to progressively replace dog
byelaws without recourse to sign off by the Secretary of State. Under a DCO a local
authority may designate an area, and select from a number of activities that are to be
offences in that area, such as:
a) failing to remove dog faeces;
b) not keeping a dog on a lead;
c) not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised
officer;
d) permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded; and/or
e) taking more than a specified number of dogs onto land.
42. If an authority wishes to designate an area (which could be as limited as a park, or as
wide as the district) they must consult locally, taking into account the needs of dog
owners as well as others. Once a DCO is in place, anyone breaching the terms may
be prosecuted in a Magistrates‟ Court or receive a fixed penalty notice from an
authorised officer of the local authority. Police Community Support Officers are also
able to issue Fixed Penalty Notices under this Act.
43. Dog Control Orders are related to any dog being in a certain public place and being
prohibited from doing certain things – they do not target a particular animal. As such
they are easier to police.
Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs)
44. An Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) or Agreement (ABA) is a voluntary written
agreement made between a person who has been involved in anti-social behaviour
and their local authority, local police force or landlord. ABCs are designed to engage
an individual in acknowledging their anti-social behaviour and its effect on others,
with the aim of stopping that behaviour. A number of areas have employed the use of
ABCs to deal with irresponsible dog owners.
45. ABCs are not set out in law, and the informal, flexible nature of the contract means
they can be used for various types of anti-social behaviour. An ABC that has been
breached may also be used as a basis for taking more stringent action, such as an
ASBO.
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Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs)
46. Section 1 (1) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 defines anti-social behaviour as
acting in „a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress
to one or more persons not of the same household as the perpetrator‟. The types of
anti-social behaviour this may include are deliberately not defined in the Act, to allow
for the legal remedy or ASBOs to be used in a variety of circumstances and to tackle
a wide range of behaviours.
47. Therefore, where a clear pattern of behaviour has been identified, for example,
where an individual routinely uses their dog to harass or threaten others, ASBOs may
be used to effectively deal with and prohibit future occurrences of this kind of
intimidating behaviour.
48. The purpose of an ASBO is to protect the public from behaviour that causes, or is
likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress. Therefore, for an ASBO to be
appropriate, the applicant agency will need to provide evidence that the dog‟s
behaviour has caused harassment, alarm or distress to members of the public or
named persons, victims or witnesses.
49. One incident of anti-social behaviour may be sufficient for an order to be made,
however earlier incidents can be used as background information to support a case
and show a pattern of behaviour. If a catalogue of events where an individual failed
to control his/her dog can be shown, this will add weight to an ASBO application,
demonstrating that an order is both proportionate and necessary to protect the wider
community.
50. An ASBO can prohibit the named individual from owning or being in possession of
certain items such as knives, firearms or alcohol. Therefore, there is no reason why
agencies should not seek a prohibition preventing ownership or possession in public
of a dog. Prohibitions could include:
- Having in his/her possession, keeping or controlling any dog in any part of the
premises including the gardens and outbuildings at any time.
- Allowing any other person residing at the above premises from having,
keeping or controlling any dog on any part of the premises at any time.
Anti-social Behaviour Injunctions (ASBIs)
51. As with ASBOs, Anti-social Behaviour Injunctions under section 153a of the Housing
Act 1996 may also be used by social landlords to prohibit intimidation and
harassment caused by individuals using or allowing their dogs to threaten others.
The same principles apply – social landlords will need to demonstrate that the
individual has behaved in a way that is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to
any person; and that the behaviour directly or indirectly relates to or affects their
housing management functions.
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Part III: Proposed actions
Possible options
52. Defra is aware that there are a range of possible options for amending dangerous
dogs law: These include:
1) An extension of criminal law (i.e. section 3 of the 1991 Act) to all places,
including private property.
2) Additions or amendments to (including possible repeal of) section 1 of the
1991 Act.
3) Repeal of the 1997 Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act to prevent any more
dogs being added to the Index.
53. Other options for consideration:
4) The introduction of Dog Control Notices
5) A requirement that all dogs are covered by third-party insurance.
6) A requirement that all dogs, or puppies, are microchipped.
7) More effective enforcement of the existing law, including a consolidation of
existing statutes into one new updated Act.
54. The above options are discussed in more detail below, and the Government would
like to hear people‟s views on them. Each option may be taken separately, or some
options could be considered together as a „package‟. There may be other options
respondents consider that the Government should look at. We would be happy to
receive any further ideas people have to amend dangerous dogs law. It would be
helpful to the Government if any proposals for other changes were supported by
evidence or argument as to why that proposal was necessary.
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Option 1: An extension of criminal law (i.e. section 3 of the 1991
Act) to all places, including private property
55. Although section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it a criminal offence for
an owner to allow any dog (regardless of breed) to be dangerously out of control in a
public place, or a private place where the dog is not permitted to be, the 1991 Act
does not apply to attacks committed on private property where the dog is permitted to
be.
56. The Communication Workers Union launched the “Bite Back” campaign in 2008,
calling for “the law to be modernised and made effective in order to hold to account
the irresponsible, careless and reckless owners of vicious dogs”. 2 They have
reported that 6,000 postal workers are attacked each year by dangerous dogs, and
this number is increasing. They believe that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 should be
extended to include private property where a dog is allowed to be, thereby making it
a criminal offence. The case of R v Bogdal [2008] EWCA 1 shows how the law
currently operates. 3
57. The Dogs Act 1871 can be applied to private property. Any person can make a
complaint to a Magistrates‟ Court that a dog is dangerous, or report the matter to the
police. The Dogs Act 1871 is not part of the criminal law, as such 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 of, or imposition of controls on, dangerous dogs. However, while
there are a number of actions that can be taken to tackle dangerous dogs under the
Dogs Act 1871, since it is not criminal law, a dog being dangerously out of control on
private property where it is allowed to be, is not a criminal offence.
58. Where an attack has taken place on private premises it is possible for a person who
has been attacked by a dog to initiate civil proceedings to claim damages on the
basis that the person owning or controlling the dog was negligent.
Possible financial impact of extending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to all places,
including private property
59. If the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 were extended to cover all places, including private
property, this may result in increased numbers of investigations and prosecutions
under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. This would represent an increased cost to the
police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the custodial service. There would also be
increased costs as a result of any legal aid that was required.
2 Taken from http://www.cwu.org/dangerous-dogs-bite-back.html
3 Whilst within the grounds of his owner‟s large house Mr Bogdal‟s dog bit 3 people (on 3 separate occasions)
including the investigating police officer. Mr Bogdal was acquitted of all offences by the Court of Appeal because
the dog (an unnamed Alsatian) was not in a public place or on another‟s private land where not permitted to be.
Two of the victims were using Mr Bogdal‟s drive to get to an old people‟s home (Sycamore House) which had
been built in the former back garden of his home. (Visitors to Sycamore House had been granted a licence to use
the drive rather than there being a public right of way across Mr Bogdal‟s private land.)
Q1: Do you think that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 should be extended to cover all
places, including private property where a dog is permitted to be? Why?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
15
60. In the event of an increased number of prosecutions, there could be larger numbers
of dogs that were required to be kennelled by the police. This would represent an
increased cost for the police.
61. If the terms of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 were widened to cover all places, it is
also possible that larger numbers of the currently prohibited dogs might be
abandoned by their owners. This could result in an increased cost to dog welfare
organisations and dog rescue homes, which may have to kennel the larger numbers
of abandoned dogs.
Option 2: Additions or amendments to (including possible repeal
of) Section 1 of the 1991 Act
62. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 currently includes four types of dog which are illegal
to own. These were banned following attacks on members of the public from these
types of dog, and reported increases in their usage in dog fighting.
63. In recent years, the number of dangerous dog convictions has increased (see Table
1). Some of these involve the types of dog banned in 1991, but not all. In cases
involving these non-banned breeds, it is where they are deliberately being used to
intimidate and harass communities or undertake criminal activities, including dog
fighting.
64. Many animal welfare organisations in England and Wales are generally inclined to
the view that breed-specific legislation does not work. This view is shared by some
professional veterinarian bodies. We understand that a move to repeal the legislation
that prohibited certain breeds would be welcomed by some groups. However, other
welfare groups, local authority interests, and the Association of Chief Police Officers
consider that while breed-specific law is not easy to enforce at present, there are no
viable alternatives and it should not be repealed. Concerns have been raised about
the difficulties of identifying the breed “type” dogs and there are studies showing that
breed identification based on appearance alone may be inaccurate.
65. There are concerns by those who oppose breed-specific legislation that it does not
take into account the role of the owner in a dog‟s behaviour. Additionally, it does not
take into account an individual dog‟s behaviour. Breed is seen as only one factor
which may affect a dog‟s behaviour. However, even though scientific literature
acknowledges that there may be a genetic component to dog‟s behaviour, a large
number of research papers suggest that other factors such as obedience training,
neutering, sex, age, owner behaviour and owner competency etc. have a major
influence over individual dog‟s behaviour. Furthermore, there is also international
evidence supporting that there is a substantially greater injury and fatality rate for
children when compared with adults and that male children are injured and killed
more often than female children. This indicates that human behaviour may also be a
Q2: Do you think that extending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to cover all places could
have a financial impact upon the police/court service/Crown Prosecution Service? Why?
Q3: Do you think that extending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to cover all places could
have a financial impact upon welfare organisations/dog homes? Why?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
16
major factor. Human and dog population densities are also risk factors identified by
research. These factors may explain why inappropriate behaviours are widespread
across many breeds.
66. However, many correspondents to Defra, and some representatives of local
authorities, take the view that the list of dogs specified in the 1991 legislation should
be extended further to protect the public. They believe breed-specific legislation
should include all bull breed types, including Staffordshire Bull Terriers. It has also
been suggested that other breeds, such as the Japanese Akita, be added to the list
of prohibited breeds.
67. Defra is currently of the view that before considering amending or repealing breedspecific
legislation, it would be necessary to have robust risk-based evidence to
support the move. We have discussed the possibility of an extension with key
stakeholders including the police and local authorities, and they do not consider that
it would be a helpful development. Nevertheless the consultation provides an
opportunity for us to seek the views of the public on this issue.
68. It should be noted that under the current legislation, it is an offence to allow any dog
to be dangerously of out of control in a public place or a place it has no right to be.
This is not restricted to any particular breed.
Possible financial impacts of extending/amending breed-specific legislation
69. If breed-specific legislation were to be extended, there may be an increased number
of dogs seized by the police – this could cause additional costs for those responsible
for enforcing further bans. However, in the long-term there could be savings for law
enforcement agencies and those responsible for treating dog attack injuries.
70. If breed-specific legislation were to be extended, there may be a larger number of
dogs abandoned or taken to dog homes and shelters, which would result in an
increased cost to these facilities while it was determined whether or not the dogs
were illegal breeds.
71. If breed-specific legislation were to be extended, there may be a saving for the
Police, Crown Prosecution Service, custodial service and those providing legal aid as
there may be a reduced long-term cost from fewer attacks and incidents involving
Q4: Do you think that breed-specific legislation, in its current form, is effective in
protecting the public from dangerous dogs? Why?
Q7: Do you think that breed-specific legislation should be repealed? Why?
Q5: Do you think that breed-specific legislation should be extended to include other
breeds or types of dogs? If yes, which?
Q6: If breed-specific legislation were extended to include other breeds or types of dogs,
what is the evidence to justify doing so?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
17
dangerous dogs. Likewise, there could also be a saving for the health service due to
fewer dog bites and attacks.
72. If the breed-specific legislation were to be repealed there may be fewer numbers of
dogs of that type abandoned/taken to shelters so this may represent a saving for the
animal welfare organisations and shelters. At present dog homes/shelters also
kennel a number of healthy dogs which are of prohibited types, so if breed-specific
legislation were to be repealed this would result in a saving for animal welfare
organisations as they would be able to re-home the healthy dogs once they had
undertaken a behavioural assessment.
73. If breed-specific legislation were to be repealed, there may be a reduced number of
dogs seized by the police. As a result there would be a saving on the cost of
kennelling these seized dogs as well as in the legal proceedings which may take
place following seizure. There may also be a saving in police officers no longer being
trained
Option 3: Repeal of the 1997 Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act to
prevent any more dogs being added to the Index.
74. The 1997 amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 introduced an exemption
which repealed the mandatory destruction orders that applied to dogs found to be of
a type prohibited by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. This allows dogs of prohibited
types to be added to the Index of Exempted Dogs, but only at the direction of the
court.
75. The organisations which originally lobbied for the exemption introduced by the 1997
amendment would oppose the removal of this exemption, unless there is an
alternative monitoring scheme which prevents the destruction of prohibited types of
dog. They believe that if you were to remove this exemption, it could result in dogs
which do not present any danger to the public being destroyed, and a number of
dogs of the prohibited type being abandoned. The soundings that we have taken of
other key stakeholders indicate that they would have considerable misgivings
concerning the removal of the Index, as it would be unpopular with many dog
owners, and could lead to the destruction of dogs that are well-adjusted family pets.
76. In order for a dog to be added to the Index of Exempted Dogs, there must first be a
breach of the law, even if no prosecution takes place. It is now not possible for an
owner to apply to have their dog added to the Index. However, this does mean that if
a dog of a prohibited type is seized by the police and the owner is prosecuted in
court, the dog can be kept legally, so long as the court is satisfied the dog is of no
danger to public safety and the requirement for registration of the Index of Exempted
Dogs are complied with.
Q8: Do you think extending breed-specific legislation would have a financial impact upon
other organisations, such as the police and dog shelters? If yes, in what way?
Q9: Do you think repealing breed-specific legislation would have a financial impact upon
other organisations, such as the police and dog shelters? If yes, in what way?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
18
77. The conditions which the owner must comply with are:
 The dog is neutered, tattooed, microchipped and has third-party insurance before it
can be registered and released to the owner .
 Thereafter when in a public place the dog must be on a lead, in the charge of
someone over 16 years‟ old and muzzled at all times.
 The owner must maintain third-party insurance in relation to the dog.
78. If the exemption which was introduced by the 1997 amendment were removed, it
would mean that any dog of a prohibited type could not be placed on the Index of
Exempted Dogs, and would have to be destroyed unless an alternative monitoring
control is put in place (e.g. registration or licensing).
79. By removing the exemption, in theory it would eventually lead to the complete
eradication of the pit bull terrier type of dog from the country, as after all the current
dogs on the Index had died there would no longer be such a thing as a legally kept
dog of a prohibited type.
Possible financial impacts of removing the exemption without alternative monitoring
systems put in place
80. If the exemption were to be removed, there may be reduced costs for dog homes and
animal welfare organisations as they would not have to house a dog of a prohibited
type while its behaviour was assessed, in order to place it on the Index of Exempted
Dogs.
81. Removal of the exemption may also reduce costs for the police as they would no
longer have to have the behaviour of a dog of a prohibited type assessed in order to
assist the Court in deciding whether or not it should be placed on the Index of
Exempted Dogs.
82. However, removal of the exemption is more likely to result in increased costs of
kennelling for the police force as owners of dogs which are suspected to be of
prohibited types may want further scientific evidence to prove that they are of not that
type. Appeals where dogs are found to be of the prohibited type (and therefore have
to be destroyed) are likely to be much more common. This may result in longer-
Q12: Do you think that introducing an alternative monitoring system to the Index introduced
by the 1997 amendment would improve the current situation regarding dangerous dogs?
Which system would you consider best?
Q11: Do you think that the exemption should be kept, but with tighter restrictions? If yes,
what sort of restrictions do you think should be added?
Q10: Do you think that the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment should be
removed? Why?
Q13: Do you think that removing the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment would
allow more effective enforcement of the current dangerous dogs legislation?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
19
running cases, so longer kennelling times. This will also result in higher court costs,
impacting upon the custodial services and those providing legal aid.
Option 4 : The introduction of Dog Control Notices
83. The Dogs Act 1871 provides courts with powers to place control orders on dogs and
their owners. However, the process of going to court can be costly and time
consuming, and it may be more effective if the powers to impose control noticescould
be provided direct to enforcement authorities themselves.
84. Dog Control Notices are being considered as part of the Dog Control Bill, which is
currently being debated through the Scottish Parliament.
85. Dog Control Notices could enable a police officer or local authority representative to
serve a dog owner direct with a “control notice” where the owner has failed to
properly control a dog. This control notice allows an officer to require a number of
remedial measures including:
a) Keeping the dog muzzled when in public;
b) Keeping the dog on a lead when in public;
c) Arranging for the dog to be neutered (such a decision would have to be
confirmed by a court before it is put into effect);
d) Microchipping the dog;
e) Arranging for the dog and owner to undergo training; and/or
f) Arranging for the dog to be confiscated and re-homed.
86. Another option might be to use Dog Control Notices on private property, where a dog
has the right to be, for example in the garden or yard of a house. It could be possible
to issue a Dog Control Notice which stipulated, for example, that a dog had to be
muzzled while in the front garden.
87. It is accepted that much depends upon the standard of the enforcement agency. In
many local authorities, dog wardens are highly-trained, knowledgeable and
conscientious. In others, wardens may not have appropriate training in people or dog
skills. In addition, owners who disagree with a particular control notice (for instance
that a dog needs to be neutered) should have the opportunity to appeal or object to a
notice. That might be a matter for the Magistrates‟ Court, alternatively for referral to a
third party, such as a dangerous dogs specialist.
88. In addition, there is anecdotal evidence that inner city areas, including parks, are
gathering points for youths with „status‟ or dangerous dogs. We would be grateful for
views as to whether this perception is true, and if local authorities or the police need
Q14: Do you think that removing the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment could
have a financial impact upon welfare organisations/dog rescue homes? Why?
Q15: Do you think that removing the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment could
have a financial impact upon the police force/other enforcement agencies? Why?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
20
to be given powers in legislation to ban all dogs from certain areas on public safety
grounds.
Possible financial impact of introducing Dog Control Notices:
89. There are likely to be enforcement costs as well as savings in introducing Dog
Control Notices. Enforcement officers will need training in using the Notices, but
Notices may save time and enforcement effort over seeking an order through the
courts under the 1871 Dogs Act. Courts may also save time by not having to hear
1871 Dogs Act cases, although they may need time to hear cases where Notices
have been ignored or appealed. Dog rescue homes may also have to deal with an
increase in dogs if Notices are ordered to be re-homed.
Option 5: A requirement that all dogs be covered by third-party
insurance
90. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, any owner of a dog on the Index of Exempted
Dogs must maintain insurance against their dog injuring third parties. Another option
which may protect the public could be to extend this measure so that all dog owners
must have third-party insurance. Alternatively it could be extended so that it is
Q18: Do you think the proposed remedial measures are appropriate or would you remove
any of them? Why?
Q16: Do you think Dog Control Notices might be an effective preventative measure for
tackling dogs which are not being properly controlled?
Q17: What sort of incidents do you think could be covered by Dog Control Notices?
Q20: Do you think there should be an appeal process for all Dog Control Notices?
Q21: Who do you think should be responsible for Dog Control Notices, if they were to be
introduced?
Q23: Do you think that introducing Dog Control Notices will have a financial impact on
enforcement agencies? Why?
Q22: Do you think enforcement authorities should have powers to ban dogs from certain
areas on public safety grounds? Why?
Q19: Do you think it should be possible to issue Dog Control Notices which apply to
private property, where a dog has the right to be? Why?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
21
compulsory for owners of certain breeds of dogs to have third-party insurance. There
would need to be penalties for those who fail to insure their dogs.
91. It is likely that insurers would charge differently by breed due to the risk being higher
of more severe injuries from larger, more powerful breeds. Insurance charges may
also vary depending on the number of dogs insured.
Possible financial impacts of requiring all dogs to be covered by third-party insurance
92. We would be interested to hear people‟s views on the likely financial impact of
introducing a third party insurance requirement. There will be a financial impact on
dog owners, but there will also be an impact on dog rescues. Would those kennelling
dogs, such as rescue centres or breeders need to have third party insurance until
such time as a dog has a permanent owner? Would dog rescues have to take in
more dogs because owners were reluctant to obtain insurance?
Option 6: A requirement that all dogs, or puppies, are microchipped
93. Microchipping is recognised as a permanent method of identification that greatly
improves the identification and traceability of dogs and their owners. It is generally
argued that owner‟s details are more easily accessible. Likewise, the dog is more
easily traceable in the event that it strays.
94. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, any owner of a dog on the Index of Exempted
Dogs must have their dog microchipped. The Docking of Working Dogs‟ Tails
(England) Regulations 2007 requires all dogs whose tails have been legally docked
to be microchipped. Likewise, under the Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations
2010 only greyhounds that are microchipped with the details of the dog and its owner
on a publicly accessible database are allowed to race or trial.
95. It has been suggested that microchipping is a measure that could be extended to all
dogs, or alternatively it could be made compulsory that all dogs of a certain breed
Q24: Do you think that third-party insurance should be compulsory for all dog owners?
Why?
Q25: If you support the requirement that all dogs should be covered by third-party
insurance, how should such a requirement be introduced and enforced?
Q26: Do you think that third-party insurance should be compulsory for owners of only
certain breeds of dog? If yes, why and which breeds?
Q27: Do you think that requiring all dogs to be covered by third-party insurance could
have a significant financial impact upon individual dog owners? Why?
Q28: Do you think that requiring all dogs to be covered by third-party insurance will
have a financial impact upon welfare organisations/dog homes? Why?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
22
have to be microchipped. Sir Patrick Bateson recommended in his recent report that
all puppies should be microchipped before they are sold. 4
96. Since being introduced in 1989, over 4 million dogs and cats have been
microchipped. There are an estimated 8,000 registrations every week. 5
97. The largest microchipping database in the UK is Petlog, which operates as a not-for -
profit organisation. In 2009, Petlog registered over 512,000 pets. 6 The Petlog
database is accessible 24 hours a day to authorised bodies such as animal wardens
or animal welfare centres, who can scan the microchips in dogs or cats and trace
their owners via the Petlog database. Today between 40-50% of dogs in the United
Kingdom are registered on the Petlog system.
98. Were microchipping to be made compulsory, then those who either failed to
microchip their dog or keep records up to date would need to be subject to penalties.
This would place a further responsibility on enforcement bodies. The benefit of
microchipping is that it may deter people from keeping a dog that is dangerous, as
microchipping increases the chances that the dog could be traced back to them.
However, others would argue that only responsible owners would have their dog
microchipped, while irresponsible owners would ignore any such requirement.
Possible financial impact of requiring all dogs to be microchipped
99. If a requirement that every dog be microchipped were introduced, there would be a
number of financial implications. As well as the obvious enforcement costs
(enforcement authorities having to keep scanners, courts having to consider a new
offence), there would be costs on all dog owners who had not already had their dog
microchipped, as well as potential costs on dog rescues who may not already
microchip all dogs that pass through their establishment. Dog rescues may also find
themselves having to take in more dogs, as some owners may be unwilling to keep
their dog if they have to pay to get it microchipped.
100. Another possible financial impact may be the cost of maintaining the database
which stores the details of the microchipped dogs and their owners. At present, this is
included in the initial cost of microchipping, however, if there were a larger number of
microchipped dogs, there may need to be more databases set up. Likewise, in order
4 Sir Patrick Bateson, Independent Inquiry into Dog Breeding, 14th January 2010.
5 www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/m/microchipping
6 http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/petlog/
Q29: Do you think that all dogs should have to be microchipped? Why?
Q32: Do you think that it should be compulsory for some specific breeds of dog to be
microchipped? If so, why and which breeds?
Q30: Do you think that all puppies born after a specified date should be microchipped before
the age of one year? Why?
Q31: How do you think such a requirement could be introduced and enforced?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
23
to ensure details were up to date and accurate, it may be necessary to have annual
checks for each dog, which would also result in an increased cost.
Option 7: More effective enforcement of the existing law, including
a consolidation of existing statutes into one new updated Act
101. Last year, Defra provided the Association of Chief Police Officers with a grant of
£20,000 to assist in the training of more police officers to become Dog Legislation
Officers (DLOs). This training has been popular, but there are still a number of forces
which do not have a DLO. ACPO believes that more DLOs would help tackle the
current problem with dangerous dogs, as the police would be able to enforce current
legislation more effectively. It is clear though that the law as it currently stands is
piecemeal, and often not readily understood. Defra has also issued written guidance
on dangerous dogs aimed at the police service and the general public.
102. An option that could also be considered would be whether there is a case for
strengthening the costs regime to allow courts to make cost orders against
defendants to recover the expenses incurred when kennelling seized dogs.
103. In consultation with other Government Departments and stakeholders, it has also
been raised that some of the reported problems with the enforcement of current
legislation is a failure of the courts to understand the law as it is. Welfare groups, the
police and other Government Departments have been working together to create
guidance for courts on how to approach cases involving dangerous dogs. It is thought
that this guidance could reduce the time it takes for cases to be processed by the
Courts, which would improve animal welfare and could also reduce kennelling costs
for the police and costs for the custodial service and those providing legal aid.
104. We also welcome the initiative taken by some local authorities/providers of assisted
housing to deal with tenants who have dangerous or unruly dogs.
105. It has been suggested that one possible option would be to bring all the existing dog
control statutes (Dogs Act 1871, Dangerous Dogs Acts 1989, 1991 and 1997)
together. There is undoubtedly plenty of scope for tidying up the dangerous dogs
legislation without necessarily changing what the current legislation does. The
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (as amended by the 1997 Act) is poorly worded and can
lead to confusion amongst the police and the courts as to what the Act means. There
are a number of areas where the legislation could be clarified, or loopholes closed.
For example, dangerous dogs law allows the courts to disqualify people from having
Q33: Do you think that requiring all dogs to be microchipped will have a significant
financial impact upon individual dog owners? Please provide evidence.
Q34: Do you think that requiring all dogs to be microchipped could have a financial
impact upon welfare organisations/dog homes? Why?
Q35: Do you think that maintaining an up-to-date database of owners‟ details would
have a financial impact? Who do you think should be responsible for maintaining this
database?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
24
custody of dogs. However, this can be easily circumvented by claiming the
ownership of any dog has been transferred to a relative or friend (even though the
person continues to have control of the dog). It should be possible to amend the law
to ensure that disqualified people have nothing to do with dogs whatsoever. There
are other areas where redrafting would aid enforcement by making the legislation
more straightforward to use.
Q36: Do you think that all legislation relating to dangerous dogs should be consolidated
into a single piece of legislation? Why?
Q37: Do you think that more effective enforcement of current legislation would improve
the current situation regarding dangerous dogs? Why?
Q38: Do you think further training for police officers to become Dog Legislation Officers
would improve the current situation regarding dangerous dogs?
Q39: Do you think the government needs to do more to raise public awareness of the
existing law and what to do if you are aware of a possible breach?
Q40: Do you think there are better ways for the government to communicate with the
public and dog owners, including owners of „status dogs‟?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
25
Part IV: Responding to this consultation
105. We welcome your views on any aspects of the proposals contained in this
consultation. We are particularly interested to hear your views on the specific
questions asked throughout this consultation. A summary list of these questions can
be found at Annex A.
Please fill in our online questionnaire at:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/dangerous-dogs/index.htm
Or send comments to:
Rebecca Kenner – Defra,
Animal Welfare Act Implementation Team,
Area 8B, No 9 Millbank,
c/o 17 Smith Square,
London
SW1P 3JR
Or email: animalwelfareconsultations@defra.gsi.gov.uk clearly stating the name of the
consultation in the subject header eg: Dangerous Dogs.
Or fax: 020 7238 6009 clearly stating the name of the consultation and addressed to the
Animal Welfare Act Implementation Team.
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
26
Part V: Consultation Criteria
This consultation is in line with the Code of practice on Consultations. This can be found at
http://www.berr.gov.uk/bre/
 Criterion one - When to consult
Formal consultation should take place at a stage when there is scope to influence the
policy outcome.
 Criterion two - Duration of consultation exercises
Consultations should normally last for at least 12 weeks with consideration given to
longer timescales where feasible and sensible.
 Criterion three - Clarity of scope and impact
Consultation documents should be clear about the consultation process, what is being
proposed, the scope to influence and the expected costs and benefits of the proposals.
 Criterion four - Accessibility of consultation exercises
Consultation exercises should be designed to be accessible to, and clearly targeted at,
those people the exercise is intended to reach.
 Criterion five - The burden of consultation
Keeping the burden of consultation to a minimum is essential if consultations are to be
effective and if consultees‟ buy-in to the process is to be obtained.
 Criterion six - Responsiveness of consultation exercises
Consultation responses should be analysed carefully and clear feedback should be
provided to participants following the consultation.
 Criterion seven - Capacity to consult
Officials running consultations should seek guidance in how to run an effective
consultation exercise and share what they have learned from the experience.
Comments or complaints
If you wish to comment on the conduct of this consultation or make a complaint about the
way this consultation has been conducted, please write to:
Rhonda Marshall,
Defra‟s Consultation Co-ordinator,
Area 7C Nobel House,
17 Smith Square,
London SW1P 3JR,
or email consultation.coordinator@defra.gsi.gov.uk.
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
27
Annex A: Summary of questions:
Option 1: An extension of criminal law (i.e. Section 3 of the 1991 Act) to all places,
including private property.
1. Do you think that the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 should be extended to cover all places,
including private property where a dog is permitted to be? Why?
2. Do you think that extending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to cover all places could have
a financial impact upon the police/court service/Crown Prosecution Service? Why?
3. Do you think that extending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to cover all places could have
a financial impact upon welfare organisations/dog homes? Why?
Option 2: Additions or amendments to (including possible repeal) of Section 1 of the
1991 Act
4. Do you think that breed-specific legislation, in its current form, is effective in protecting
the public from dangerous dogs? Why?
5. Do you think that breed-specific legislation should be extended to include other breeds or
types of dogs? If yes, which?
6. If breed-specific legislation were extended to include other breeds or types of dogs, what
is the evidence to justify doing so?
7. Do you think that breed-specific legislation should be repealed? Why?
8. Do you think extending breed-specific legislation would have a financial impact upon other
organisations, such as the police, court service and dog shelters? If yes, in what way?
9. Do you think repealing breed-specific legislation would have a financial impact upon other
organisations, such as the police, court service and dog shelters? If yes, in what way?
Option 3: Repeal of the 1997 Dangerous Dogs Act to prevent any more dogs being
added to the Index
10. Do you think that the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment should be
removed? Why?
11. Do you think that the exemption should be kept, but with tighter restrictions? If yes, what
sort of restrictions do you think should be added?
12. Do you think that introducing an alternative monitoring system to the Index introduced by
the 1997 amendment would improve the current situation regarding dangerous dogs? Which
system would you consider best?
13. Do you think that removing the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment would
allow more effective enforcement of the current dangerous dogs legislation?
14. Do you think that removing the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment could
have a financial impact upon welfare organisations/dog rescue homes? Why?
15. Do you think that removing the exemption introduced by the 1997 amendment could
have a financial impact upon the police force/other enforcement agencies? Why?
Option 4: The introduction of Dog Control Notices
16. Do you think Dog Control Notices might be an effective preventative measure for tackling
dogs which are not being properly controlled?
17. What sort of incidents do you think could be covered by Dog Control Notices?
18. Do you think the proposed remedial measures are appropriate or would you remove any
of them? Why?
19. Do you think it should be possible to issue Dog Control Notices which apply to private
property, where a dog has the right to be? Why?
Consultation on Dangerous Dogs
28
20. Do you think there should be an appeal process for all Dog Control Notices?
21. Who do you think should be responsible for Dog Control Notices, if they were to be
introduced?
22. Do you think enforcement authorities should have powers to ban dogs from certain areas
on public safety grounds? Why?
23. Do you think that introducing Dog Control Notices will have a financial impact on
enforcement agencies?
Option 5: A requirement that all dogs be covered by third party insurance
24. Do you think that third-party insurance should be compulsory for all dog owners? Why?
25. If you support the requirement that all dogs should be covered by third-party insurance,
how should such a requirement be introduced and enforced?
26. Do you think that third-party insurance should be compulsory for owners of only certain
breeds of dogs? If yes, why and which breeds?
27. Do you think that requiring all dogs to be covered by third-party insurance could have a
significant financial impact upon individual dog owners? Why?
28. Do you think that requiring all dogs to be covered by third-party insurance could have a
significant financial impact upon welfare organisations/dog homes? Why?
Option 6: a requirement that all dogs, or puppies, are microchipped
29. Do you think that all dogs should have to be microchipped? Why?
30. Do you think that all puppies born after a specified date should have to be microchipped
before they are one years old? Why?
31. How do you think such a requirement could be introduced and enforced?
32. Do you think that it should be compulsory for some specific breeds of dog to be
microchipped? If so, why and which breeds?
33. Do you think that requiring all dogs to be microchipped will have a significant financial
impact upon individual dog owners? Please provide evidence.
34. Do you think that requiring all dogs to be microchipped could have a financial impact
upon welfare organisations/dog homes? Why?
35. Do you think that maintaining an up-to-date database of owners‟ details would have a
financial impact? Who do you think should be responsible for maintaining this database?
Option 7: More effective enforcement of the existing law including a consolidation of
existing statutes into one new updated Act
36. Do you think that all legislation relating to dangerous dogs should be consolidated into a
single piece of legislation? Why?
37. Do you think that more effective enforcement of current legislation would improve the
current situation regarding dangerous dogs? Why?
38. Do you think further training for police officers to become Dog Legislation Officers would
improve the current situation regarding dangerous dogs?
39. Do you think the Government needs to do more to raise public awareness of the existing
law and what to do if you are aware of a possible breach?
40. Do you think there are better ways for the Government to communicate with the public
and dog owners, including owners of „status‟ dogs?




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