Guidance to help police and local authorities enforce dangerous dogslaw more effectively and crack down on irresponsible dog ownership hasbeen published.

Announced today by environment minister Jane Kennedy, the publication ( Guidance for enforcers on dangerous dogs law ) sets out the current law and provides advice on how the legislation can be used effectively to improve enforcement. The publication has been written in association with the police, the RSPCA and local authorities.

The guidance:

  • Dangerous dog? Provides an outline of the law on dangerous dogs, including an explanation of 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act and the 1871 Dogs Act;
  • Sets out best practice for the main enforcement authorities: the police and local authorities;
  • Provides guidance on identifying pit bull terrier-type dogs; and
  • Provides examples of existing local initiatives.

Ms Kennedy said: “Dogs play an important role in our communities so it’s vital that people feel safe when they see dogs out and about with their owners.

The new guidance has been produced to ensure that the legislation which aims to tackle irresponsible dog ownership is enforced effectively by setting out both the current law and best practice for enforcement agencies.

She said: “We undertook a significant review of the legislation with the police in 2007 and it was clear that, while the legislation was sound, more needed to be done to raise awareness of the law and improve enforcement. This guidance is the latest part in our strategy to do just that.

“We believe that better enforcement of the current law, ideally though local partnerships, will be far more effective at tackling the problem of dangerous dogs than amending it.”

Download “Guidance for enforcers on dangerous dogs law” here

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