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Dangerous Dogs Act - Section Three:


We shall refer here to the legislation as the 'DDA', the law was introduced in August 1991 and amended in 1997 and again in 2014.

Dangerous Dogs Act Amendments - the commencement date for these changes to the DDA was the 13th May 2014 and this change in dog law applied to all dogs.


DDA - Section Three:

Section 3 of the DDA refers to keeping dogs under proper control and it applies to all types of dogs, it is a criminal prosecution and makes it an offence for any dog to be dangerously out of control in any place in England or Wales, (whether or not a public place).


The offence is deemed to have been committed by the owner of the dog (and if different the person who is in charge of the dog at the time of the offence).


Where a dog is owned by a person who is less than sixteen years old any reference to its owner above shall include a reference to the head of the household (for example-parent).

A dog is regarded as dangerously out of control ‘on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person or assistance dog’, and whether or not it actually does so, then the owner, or person for the time in charge of the dog, is guilty of a summary offence.

That offence becomes an aggravated offence, and triable either way, if the dog injures any person or assistance dog while out of control.

An assistance dog is defined in section 173 of the Equality Act 2010 as a dog trained to provide assistance to a deaf or blind person or certain other specified categories of person with a disability.

'Injury' does not have to be a dog bite, it could for example be bruises or scratches e.g. from being knocked over or jumped on.

The CPS advises that prosecutions for the aggravated offence should be reserved for instances where serious injury has been caused. See: HO Circular 67/1991 Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Under section 3(1A) a person is not guilty of an offence where the dog is dangerously out of control with respect to a trespasser who is in, or entering, their home, whether the owner is present or not. This exemption (the Householder clause) does not apply to dog attacks on trespassers in gardens, driveways or outbuildings.

The police do have the power to seize your dog and keep it pending the outcome of your case, a warrant may be obtained under S5 (2) of the DDA.

A constable or an officer of a local authority authorised by may seize any dog in a place in England or Wales which is not a public place, if the dog appears to the constable or officer to be dangerously out of control.

In cases where injury has been caused, aggravated cases, there is a presumption in favour of destruction of the dog unless the court is satisfied that the dog would not constitute a danger to public safety.

The court can issue a Contingent Destruction Order – this requires that the dog is kept under proper control and certain conditions may be attached to the order for example, keeping the dog on a lead and muzzle in public places.

DDA Watch Ltd is a not-for-profit company, registered in England & Wales, registration number 7393352.

Care has been taken to ensure that our information is correct. The information and advice given by DDA Watch is for general purposes and is intended for guidance only, it does not constitute legal advice. The information and opinions expressed should not be relied on or used as a substitute for legal advice, if you require details concerning your rights, legal advice or find yourself affected by legislation it is recommended that you seek professional legal advice. 

Information given is for England and Wales only. Legislation in Scotland and N.Ireland may differ.

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