Is Your Dog “Dangerously Out of Control”? (And Not Just when the Biscuit Tin Comes Out)

Every time we let our dogs off their leads we are putting ourselves at risk of breaching dog laws.

The law states that it is against the law for a dog to be dangerously out of control and your dog is likely to be considered ‘dangerously out of control’ if:

  1. It injures someone or makes someone fear that they may be injured;
  2. If it injures some else’s animal or if the owner of that other animal fears that they could be injured if they try to stop your dog attacking their animal.

Of course, a farmer is actually able to kill your dog if your dog is deemed to be worrying their livestock.

It is easy to assume that you will never breach the law, however, it only takes one person to say that they were worried by your dog.

If your dog has little or no recall you are at risk. To train recall you may take the view that you need to work your dog off lead. However, regardless that you are simply training, that is no defence if someone accuses your dog of being dangerously out of control.


Dog that is dangerously out of control – unlimited fine or prison for up to 6 months (or both). You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.

A dog that injures someone – prison for up to 5 years or fine (or both). If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.

A dog that kills – prison for up to 14 years or an unlimited fine (or both).

Dog that injures a guide dog – prison for up to 3 years or fine (or both).


It is easy to forget that dogs are animals as they are so much a part of the family. However, protect your dog and protect yourselves by ensuring that your dog’s behaviour (natural or not) is not punished because you have not taken the time to think through the consequences of their potential actions given what you know about your pooch.

At Ringrose Law our expert Canine Law can assist with any of the issues discussed in this article, to find out more go to our Canine Law department


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