'Dangerous' Dogs

16 December 2014

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 stated that a person was guilty of a criminal offence if their dog, or a dog under their control at the time, was dangerously out of control or injured somebody in a public place.

The Act has now been amended so that the owner, or person in charge of a dog at the time, is guilty of a criminal offence if their dog is dangerously out of control or injures any person or an assistance dog in any place in England or Wales - whether or not it is a public place.

What this means in practice is that you will be liable not only if your dog is dangerously out of control or injures someone in a public place, but also if your dog injures a visitor to your premises or there is a reasonable belief that it will do so.

It means that you should take extra care to control your dog when you have visitors in your home.  Even if it is merely over-exuberant and knocks over a visitor who is injured as a result, you may still be guilty of an offence.

There is an exception to this rule.  If a trespasser enters your home or someone you believe to be a trespasser, and your dog injures that trespasser you will not be guilty of an offence.  However, as the Act is drafted at present, this exception does not appear to extend to land surrounding your home e.g. your garden. So if your dog injures someone in your garden or on land which forms part of your home, you may still be guilty of a criminal offence.

The Act is designed to protect the innocent.  Postmen and delivery men are often at risk of being injured by a dog when delivering to homes and it is the duty of the homeowner/dog owner to control their dog and to ensure that it does not injure people such as these.

So what happens if you have been injured by a dog?  Maybe you have been unable to work following an attack by a dog or maybe you have been left with scarring and a fear of dogs.  A claim can be brought against the dog owner in these circumstances for compensation for personal injury.

Advance Legal’s solicitors are experienced in dealing with these types of claims and have obtained compensation for many clients for the injuries they have sustained from dog bites.

Miss Y was injured whilst walking down a street.  A dog escaped from a nearby house and sank its teeth into her leg.  She sustained injuries and a loss of earnings as she was unable to work for several weeks as a result.  She was left with scarring to her leg and a fear of dogs.  We obtained £3,000 in compensation for her.

Miss H was bitten by a dog whilst out playing with her friend and was also left with scarring to her leg and a deep seated fear of dogs.  We obtained £15,000 in compensation for her.

Laura Holmes was bitten by a dog at a friends house while pregnant and suffered severe injuries - click here for more information.

If you have been injured by a dog, contact us or call 0800 024 1976 to speak to a member of our team now for free initial advice.  We may be able to act for you on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis.