Until now, the legislation for Great Britain in relation to dangerous dogs has largely been the same throughout England, Wales and Scotland. However, the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 makes important changes to the way that dangerous dog cases are dealt with in Scotland from 26th February 2011. At Cooper & Co we are not qualified to conduct cases in Scotland, but in order to give some general guidance to Scottish dog owners who may be facing proceedings we set out below a brief summary of this new law.
Dogs Act 1871
On this website we have given information on Section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871. Whilst it will remain in force in England & Wales, in Scotland it was repealed from 26th February 2011.
Section 3 Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
On this website we have given information on two different parts of Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991:-
- 1. Section 3(1) which applies in a public place, and
- 2. Section 3(3) which applies in a non public place where the dog is not permitted to be
Whilst they will remain in force in England & Wales, in Scotland Section 3(1) changed on 26th February 2011 so that an offence occurs if the incident is in any place (whether or not a public place). Section 3(3) is repealed as it is no longer required as non public places (whether or not the dog is permitted to be present) will automatically be included in Section 3(1).
Dog Control Notice
A new power is given to an authorised officer of a local authority to issue a Dog Control Notice (‘DCN’) requiring a person to ‘bring and keep a dog under proper control’. The grounds for serving the DCN are that the dog has been out of control on at least one occasion ie:-
- a) It is not being kept under control effectively and consistently (by whatever means)
- b) Its behaviour gives rise to (i) alarm, or (ii) apprehensiveness, on the part of any individual, and
- c) The individual’s alarm or apprehensiveness is, in all the circumstances, reasonable
The ‘apprehensiveness’ can be regarding an individual’s own safety, the safety of someone else or the safety of another animal.
The DCN will also require that recipient advises the local authority of any change of address, has the dog microchipped and ensures that the dog is walked by a responsible adult who is aware of the DCN.
The DCN may specify conditions which may include:-
- 1. Muzzling and/or on a lead when in public
- 2. Neutering (if male)
- 3. Exclusion from specified places
- 4. Attending a training course with the dog
- 5. Any other steps that would keep the dog under proper control
The recipient of a DCN can appeal it by summary application to the sheriff.
Breach of a DCN is an offence which may lead to:-
- 1. A fine of up to £1,000
- 2. A disqualification from having custody of a dog
- 3. An order for the dog to be destroyed if the Court considers the dog is dangerous
Application for destruction
A new power is given to an authorised officer of a local authority to apply to the sheriff for an order that a dog be destroyed and to require that is be delivered up for that purpose. The grounds for this application are that it appears to the authorised officer that the dog is out of control and dangerous, and serving a DCN (or a further DCN) would be ‘inappropriate’.
If the sheriff makes a destruction order, he may also disqualify the owner from owning or keeping a dog for such period as he deems fit. If the sheriff refuses to make a destruction order, he may require the local authority to serve a DCN.
Pit Bull type dogs
Sections 1 and 4B of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 remain unchanged.