Dangerous Dogs

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th April 2021.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last reviewed the penalties for (1) owning, or (2) being in charge of, a dog that is dangerously out of control; and what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the penalties for such crimes that are currently available to courts.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

It is an offence to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The penalties for allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control were increased in 2014.

In 2017, Defra reviewed the way the police and local authorities have used the powers available to them to tackle dog control and welfare issues. This resulted in further Defra guidance for these enforcement authorities emphasising their respective responsibilities and encouraging the use of good practice such as application of the LEAD initiative (Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs).

Defra commissioned Middlesex University to examine measures to reduce dog attacks and promote responsible ownership. The report was submitted to Defra in March this year. The report is currently being peer reviewed and will be finalised in light of peer review comments. Our intention is to publish the final report later this year.

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