The Dog Death Penalty

February 19, 2018

dog death penalty

What is a dog death penalty and how are they issued?

‘Dangerous dogs’ are defined as dogs that are  ‘dangerously out of control’, although many believe that the only reason why some dogs are dangerous is because of the way they are handled by their owners.   There is a law specifically for dangerous dog offences called the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, which states that:

“A dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that will injure any person (or assistance dog), whether or not it actually does so.”

Essentially this means that if the dog is acting aggressively and a person, within reason, believes that the dog was truly going to cause harm or affect the safety of others, it will fall under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and risks further consequences. These consequences can be as serious as imprisonment of up to 14 years, if your dog has caused an injury resulting in the death of a person. Many dog owners are unaware of the fact that even quite minor offences can result in the dog being destroyed, with the destruction of the dog mandatory in other cases.

How Tuckers can help you if your dog is issued a dog death penalty

In order to decide whether the dog is a safety risk to the public, the court analyses the current and past behaviour of the dog, whether the owner/guardian of the dog is a fit and proper person to be looking after the dog, and any other circumstances that may be relevant to the case.  It is important that anyone acting for you is an expert in the area of law – as it is imperative to draw the Court’s attention to the power to order “contingent destruction” in many cases.   This would allow the dog to avoid being put down, provided certain ongoing conditions are met.

We take great care when dealing with your case, however in these circumstances you will most likely also need an expert in dog behaviour to help support your case. If you have any queries or are facing criminal proceedings, please get in touch with Luke Meyer on 01634 832332 or

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