Many thanks for contacting me about dangerous dogs.
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, it is a criminal offence to allow any dog of any breed or type to be dangerously out of control. The Act also prohibits certain types of dog that are considered a serious risk to public safety. These specific types of dogs are: Pit bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro. It is for a court to decide if a prohibited dog can be kept by someone once it has considered the dog’s temperament, among other issues. Conviction under this Act can lead to a prison sentence or a disqualification order which prevents the owner from keeping dogs for a certain period of time.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commissioned Middlesex University to explore measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership across all breeds of dog. Following the report’s publication, the Government established the responsible dog ownership project. This looks at strengthening enforcement; developing and supporting education initiatives; improving the quality and accessibility of dog training; and the importance of data collection across the system. I understand that this project is expected to conclude its work in 2023.
While Ministers appreciate the strength of feeling about breed-specific legislation, I am aware that the Government must balance the views of those who want it repealed with Ministers’ responsibility to protect the public. I know that the Government considers that repealing the breed-specific provisions without making other changes would not help public safety. However, I understand that the responsible dog ownership project will explore these issues more widely, and the Government will always ensure that public safety remains paramount.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
12 August 2022