Most people have only a vague idea of the Dangerous Dogs Act and think it concerns banned breeds such as Pit Bulls and does not apply to them. Not true. The Act concerns every dog owner from Chihuahuas to Great Danes. The law says that it is illegal for a dog to be ‘out of control’ or to bite someone. Even more than this, if your dog worries or frightens someone into thinking that it may bite them that too is breaking the law. This is called “reasonable apprehension” in legal terminology. Your dog must be kept under control at all times and in all places.

The “all places” is important as the law was amended in 2014 and changed to include your home and garden and not just public places such as parks. So if your dog bites someone in your garden you could be in trouble even if the person should not have been in your garden e.g. a trespasser. This may seem ridiculous to you but that’s what the law says.

So if your dog bites a neighbour in your home or garden you have broken the law. Even more than that, if your dog frightens your neighbour into thinking it may bite them, you have broken the law. The only possible exception is if it bites an intruder such as burglar and even then this applies only to your home not your garden.

Even if think the law is unreasonable it still applies to you as a dog owner and the simple answer is to make sure your dog is trained to commands particularly stopping aggressive behaviour to people and other dogs, jumping up at people, and barking at them.