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Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (amended 1997).


Commonly referred to as the DDA, the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in August 1991, amended in 1997 and 2014.


The Legislation is composed of different sections and while many still think of the DDA as the “pit bull law” it actually covers all dogs of any breed, type or cross.



Dangerous Dogs Act Amendments - the commencent date for these changes to the DDA is the 13th May 2014


Dangerous Dogs Act - An Overview


Dangerous Dogs Act - In Detail & Practice

Statute and Case Law


The Dogs Act 1871


Only section two of the Dogs Act 1871 remains in force at the present time. Section two of the Dogs Act refers to a dog that is dangerous and not kept under proper control and can result in control orders or destruction of the dog.

The Dogs Act is a civil act and can therefore be brought by anyone. Unlike Section three of the DDA the Dogs Act covers private and public property so if a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control, even on its own property, a case may be brought. The Dogs Act only applies to the owner of the dog, regardless of who is in charge of the dog at the time.

There isn’t any presumption towards destruction unlike Section Three and fines and compensation orders cannot be granted by the court. The Dogs Act itself has no rights of seizure however a dog may be able to be seized under the Criminal Evidence Act.

In a case brought under the Dogs Act the prosecution must prove that the dog itself is dangerous, not that the dog acted dangerously and that the dog was not kept under proper control. One incident is often not enough to prove a dog is dangerous and ensuring the defence team carry out independent behavioural reports on the dog is strongly recommended.

As a civil act legal aid is not available and the cost of defending a case can be extreme. Curiously should you lose you may well be granted legal aid on appeal as your appeal will be under a criminal offence.

While care has been taken to ensure information is correct it must be noted that this site should be considered a guide only. If you find yourself affected by legislation you must seek legal representation. Information given is for England and Wales only. Legislation in Scotland and N. Ireland may differ.

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