Dogs Act 1871 (Civil Action)
This Act provides for any person to make a complaint to the Police or a magistrates court that a dog is dangerous. If the court is satisfied that the dog is dangerous and is not being kept under proper control then it may make an order for the dog to be kept under proper control by the owner or that it be destroyed,
Generally a dog is regarded as not being under proper control if
- It is neither on a lead nor muzzled.
- A dog can show itself to be dangerous in its general behaviour not just its behaviour towards a person. and a single incident may be unlikely to be sufficient to prove the dog is dangerous, unless the court believes that single incident to be exceptional.
- The police have no power to seize a dog pending proceedings under this act.
- Proceedings can only be brought against the owner of the dog.
With this act there is no presumption of destruction and control orders can be general in that an order is simply made that the dog be kept under control in future, or may have conditions attached such as leashing or muzzling. . Where a magistrates' court does make 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,
In addition, where an incident has taken place on private premises it may be possible for a person to initiate civil proceedings to claim damages on the basis that the person owning or controlling the dog was negligent.
Bull Breed Advisory Service © 2009