GSD Help & Information
climate it is all too easy to find yourself the subject of legal
proceedings because of some percieved bad behaviour from your canine
companion. Having recently attended a seminar on Dog Law where
the guest speaker was Trevor Cooper we came away
both enlightened yet worried from the topics that were covered during
his talk. The continual emphasis on the need to have a good
third party liability pet insurance was fully understood by the end of
the seminar. People now can take legal proceedings using
law firms acting on a no win no fee basis which means your costs in
defending your dog can make your road to financial ruin a very short
Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005
dog fouling is unpleasant, unhygienic, a health risk and
antisocial. Leaving your dogs mess not only allows diseases to
spread but can cause illness and even blindness.
There is a byelaw in Leicester which states: "No person
being in charge of a dog shall allow it to foul the footway of any
street or public place by depositing excrement thereon".
'Poop-Scoop' byelaws have been introduced to cover dog
fouling in parks and open places. Under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 a person who
is in charge of a dog must clean up after it when it fouls any
footpath, highway, verge or other open space to which the public have
The Council’s uniformed
dog wardens regularly patrol parks and other places used
for dog walking and can issue fixed penalty notices of £50 to
anyone found committing an offence. Alternatively the case could
taken to Court where a fine of up £2000 can be given.
The law does not
Land used for agriculture or woodlands
Land which is mainly marshland, moor or heath
Rural common land
Land comprised of or running alongside a road with a speed limit over
40 miles per hour
If you wish to report a dog fouling offence, contact your dog wardens
Always make sure that you clean up after your dog and put the waste in
a dog bin or dustbin.
dog causes an accident or injures someone, the owner of the dog may be
liable to pay compensation, eg ~ a dog straying out into the road and
causing an accident.
The Highways Agency maintains Englands motorways and trunk roads and
Roger Jones from their press office says: "When we find the body of a
dog on our roads maintenance crews will make an attempt at tracing the
owner. This is often hampered due to the fact we do not often
find a collar or tag. Currently we do not have the facillities to
scan for a microchip in all our areas but we are looking into this for
the future." The remains of the dog are taken for incineration.
The local dog wardens pick up dogs on all other roads.
Unfortunately it is only the live dogs that are scanned for an
indentification. Dead dogs are not. If an animal has a
collar and tag the owners are contacted, if not, the body is not
According to Anne Hapwood of Justice for Dogs there is currently no
legal requirement for local authorities to scan dead animals to obtain
indentification of ownership. Whilst it is a good idea it may be
unworkable in practice, not least because of the expense.
It is strongly recommended that you obtain third
party insurance for your dog(s).
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1990, it is
an offence to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control in a
public place. A dog is regarded as "dangerously out of control" under
the act if there are
good grounds for suspecting that it will injure a person, whether or
not it actually does so. If no injury is caused, the maximum
sentence is a dine of £2,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment. Where
actual injury is caused, the maximum sentence is 2 years'
imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. The Courts can also now specify
particular forms of restriction, such as muzzling or leashing, for
all types of dog, as well as the power to disqualify owners from having
custody of a dog for any period of time felt appropriate.
Four breed types are listed in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991: the Pit
Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo
Argentino and Fila Brasileiro. The government states that these
types were bred for fighting and are dangerous. Other types of
dogs can be added to the list if considered dangerous by a court.
Under the Act a dog only has to have the physical characteristics that
are similar to the banned breeds to be classed as illegal. There
is some lenience to the ban, however, and where a breed type is
not considered a threat by a court, he can be put on the Index of
Exempted Dogs and stay with his owners. For a dog to be added to
the register the owner must agree to the following:
1. The dog must be
neutered, tattooed and microchipped
2. When in public the dog
must be muzzled and on a lead at all times
3. The dog must be
assessed and deemed not to be a danger to the public
4. The registered owner
must have a full police background check
5. The registered owner
must never transfer ownership of the dog for the entirety of the dogs
life and must keep the register fully informed of their address for the
rest of the dogs life
6. The dog must also be
covered by 3rd party liability insurance
The maximum penalty for
illegal possession of a banned breed is a fine of £5000 and/or
six months imprisonment. The dog may also be destroyed if the
court deems it a risk to others. It is an offence to be an owner
of a dog (regardless of type or breed) which is dangerously out of
control in a public or a non-public place in which it is not
permitted. The Animals Act 1971 states that the keeper of an
animal is liable for any damage it causes, if he knows it was likely to
cause such damage or injury unrestrained.
Dog Prohibition Areas
There are a
number of places
in the borough where dogs are banned, with the exception of guide dogs.
These dog prohibition areas are mostly children’s play areas and
cemeteries and are patrolled by dog wardens. Anyone taking a dog into
one of these areas could be taken to Court where a fine of up to
£500 can be given.
Avoid walking your dog near a children’s play area or in a cemetery -
there will be many other places nearby where you can walk your dog.
Dogs on Leads
Your dog should always be kept under control in public places, but in
some areas there are byelaws which state that dogs must be kept on a
lead (with the exception of guide dogs). These areas are in ornamental
gardens, bowling greens, and pitch and putt areas and are patrolled by
dog wardens. Anyone taking a dog into one of these areas without
a lead could be
taken to Court where a fine of up to £500 can be given. If you
wish to report an offence, contact the dog warden.
The 'Right to Roam' legislation does not mean that you have the right
to roam anywhere or that you can do exactly as you like. You must
stick to the designated footpaths and, above all keep the dogs under
control. If you rely on private land and footpaths to walk your
dog it is good manners to see the farmer or land owner and ask
permission to use his fields.
gates and property as you find them
respect the working life of the countryside, as our actions can affect
people's livelihoods, our heritage, and the safety and welfare of
animals and ourselves.
A farmer will normally leave a gate closed to keep livestock in, but
may sometimes leave it open so they can reach food and water. Leave
gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs. If walking in a
group, make sure the last person knows how to leave the gates.
If you think a sign is illegal or misleading such as a 'Private - No
Entry' sign on a public footpath, contact the local authority.
In fields where crops are growing, follow the paths wherever possible.
Use gates, stiles or gaps in field boundaries when provided - climbing
over walls, hedges and fences can damage them and increase the risk of
farm animals escaping.
Our heritage belongs to all of us - be careful not to disturb ruins and
Leave machinery and livestock alone - don't interfere with animals even
if you think they're in distress. Try to alert the farmer instead.
It is sometimes a
dog’s natural instinct to chase things, but this can
cause distress, injury and death for the animals concerned – including
your dog. In some cases, farmers can legally shoot a dog that is
worrying their livestock. When on any land with sheep or
livestock all dogs must be on a lead or
'under close control'. If you allow your dog to worry livestock you can
be prosecuted and fined, ordered to pay compensation and even have the
Worrying livestock means attacking or chasing any farm animal or
poultry - there does not have to be any contact. This is outlined in
the Animals Act 1971 section 9, which also states that the farmer is
not liable to compensate the dog’s owner in such circumstances.
Any dog which is not a working dog can be regarded as worrying
livestock merely by being off lead or not under close control in a
field or enclosure where there are sheep. A landowner is allowed
to shoot such a dog, if it can be proved that the action was necessary
to protect livestock and that it was reported to the police within 48
On a right of way your dog does not have to be on a lead but it does
have to be 'under close control'. This phrase is not defined but pretty
much means that if you are in a field with animals or poultry and your
dog will not always come, straight away, when called even when he's
chasing things, and then stay there, he could be at risk of being seen
to worry animals. So if there is any chance he might not return on the
first recall command it is best to have him on the lead. You must
use a fixed lead no more than 2 metres (6 feet) long at all times near
livestock, and from 1st March to 31st July as this is the
ground-nesting bird season. You may also find that dogs are excluded
from grouse moors and from lambing enclosures at lambing times.
On a bridleway or byway it is advisable to keep dogs on a lead as you
may meet horses and could be liable for damages if your dog causes an
dogs under close control
countryside is a great place to exercise dogs, but it’s every owner’s
duty to make sure their dog is not a danger or nuisance to farm
animals, wildlife or other people.
By law, you must control your dog so that it does not disturb or scare
farm animals or wildlife. On most areas of open country and common
land, known as 'access land' you must keep your dog on a short lead on
most areas of open country and common land between 1 March and 31 July,
and all year round near farm animals.
You do not have to put your dog on a lead on public paths, as long as
it is under close control. But as a general rule, keep your dog on a
lead if you cannot rely on its obedience. By law, farmers are entitled
to destroy a dog that injures or worries their animals.
If a farm animal chases you and your dog, it is safer to let your dog
off the lead – don’t risk getting hurt by trying to protect it.
Take particular care that your dog doesn’t scare sheep and lambs or
wander where it might disturb birds that nest on the ground and other
wildlife – eggs and young will soon die without protection from their
Everyone knows how unpleasant dog mess is and it can cause infections –
so always clean up after your dog and get rid of the mess responsibly.
Also make sure your dog is wormed regularly to protect it, other
animals and people.
At certain times, dogs may not be allowed on some areas of access land
or may need to be kept on a lead. Please follow any signs. You can also
find out more by phoning the Open Access Contact Centre on 0845 100
and Your Dog in The Countryside Booklet to download
The Council has
a duty under
the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to catch dogs that appear to be
All stray dogs are kept at kennels for 7 days after which they may be
sold, given to The Dogs Trust for rehoming or destroyed, although dogs
are normally only destroyed if they are very ill or vicious.
If your dog has gone missing you should contact your local dog warden
who will let you know if it has been picked up. If you
wish to reclaim the
dog you must do so within 7 days and you will have to pay the boarding
fees plus a charge of around £25.
If you find a stray dog, you are required by law to return it to the
owner or to contact the dog warden who will arrange to collect it. If
you find a stray dog outside of normal office hours you must take it to
the nearest police
If you wish to keep the dog, you must have written permission from dog
and you will have to keep it for at least one month.
Q. I found a stray four years ago, checked with the
and advertised the fact I had found the dog through the local paper.
Nobody claimed it.
The dog has become a bosom pal and works a treat in the beating
line. Through a number of coincedences the dog's previous owners
have found out that it now lives with me - and want it back.
Do I have any rights in the matter, or do I have to give it
back? If so, what can I do to keep it legally?
A. Even stray dogs have owners. If you keep a stray
without the explicit approval of either the local council or the police
you would be committing an offence but from what you say you did get
clearance from the police.
My local council dog warden tells me that after 28 days you are
entitled to presume you are the owner. How do the alleged
orevious owners know it is their dog? One dog can look very much
like another and recognising a particular dog after four years may
prove difficult. Presumably it is not chipped and did not have a
collar with the mandatory tag otherwise it would speedily have been
returnd to its rightful owners.
Its up to them to prove it's theirs before you even consider handing it
Constant barking and
is annoying to neighbours and could result in them taking legal action
against you for causing a noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection
Act 1990, Section 80.
Establishment Act 1963 requires boarding kennels for cats and dogs to
be licensed by your local authority.
the Breeding and Sale
of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, no person can keep a breeding establishment
for dogs except under a licence granted by your local authority. If you
own 5 or more breeding bitches and they produce 5 or more
litters per year or your premises are used solely for the purpose
of breeding dogs then you will require a Dog Breeding Licence.
Collar and identity tags
It is the
requirement of the Dogs Act 1906, that all dogs whist on the highway or
public places wear a collar with their owners name and address
inscribed or attached to it.
Under the Control of Dogs Order 1992, all dogs must wear a collar and
identity tag in a public
place. The tag must show the owner’s name and address. The dog wardens
can enforce this law and fines of up to £5000 can be given by the
Courts for an offence.
If you exercise your dog in a public place without a collar and
name tag you are breaking the law. Remember a collar can be
removed or in some situations come astray so it is advisable to have a
more permanent form of ID as well. Always make sure that your
wears a collar and tag, even if
microchipped or tattooed.
The exemptions are when the dog is being used for sporting purposes,
driving or tending livestock, destruction of 'vermin' or is one of a
pack of hounds.
One of the best ways to
ensure that your dog is returned if it is lost is to have it
A tiny microchip (the size of a grain of rice) is painlessly inserted
in the skin at the back
of the dog’s neck. This has a unique code number which is
entered onto a national PetLog computer database together with the
owner’s name and address. If the dog is found, a
scanner is passed over the microchip and the owner can be identified.
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991,
bans the ownership, breeding, sale (both national and international)
and exchange of certain types of fighting dogs – the ban
currently covers pure breeds and cross breeds with the same physical
and behavioural characteristics as the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa,
Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero. The maximum fine for having a
banned dog is £5000 and/or 6 months in prison
and the dog may be destroyed.
Section 3 of the act applies to all dogs that are dangerously out of
control in a public place (it does not apply to dogs in their own
garden who jump up
at visitors). If a dog acts in a way in which someone fears they will
be attacked, then an offence is committed. The fines are
up to £5000 and/or 6 months in prison and the Courts may order
the dog to be destroyed.
A Police Officer or dog warden may seize a banned dog or a dog that is
dangerously out of control. If you wish to report a dangerous
dog, contact the Police or the dog wardens . The Courts can also
issue a warrant for the police to enter a building and seize a dog.
information about your dog and the law- contact your local authority
Fighting to establish
supremacy is a natural behaviour in dogs. When a dog has this
tendancy, strong handling must be established by the owner. The
dog should not be taken out by people who cannot control it. It
is important to train dogs to the word 'LEAVE!'. The dog should
learn that to obey the word 'LEAVE!' brings rewards. If another
dog approaches, start telling your dog to 'LEAVE' before a situation
develops. Some fights occur because
owners misread the signals from their dog. Keep away from
potential confrontations by calling your dog and walking away-if you
practice recall regularly he should follow you. Carry a Pet Corrector or Dog Stop Alarm with you and these can
interrupt a fight. If you are unhappy about an approaching dog
use the Pet Corrector to dissuade the approaching dog from coming any
to Take if Your Animal is Attacked by Another Animal.
1. If a fight does break out stay calm.
Don't shout as raised voices may spur the dogs on to fight
harder. Don't become angry with the other owner. They may
telling the truth when they say their dog has acted out of character;
their dog may have been a
victim of a dog attack, which is why he now has a problem. Never
pull one of the participants up by the collar so that it stands on its
hind legs, exposing the underbelly to the apponent. If the
dogs are on leads, pull them apart and put some distance between
them. Do not allow them to look at each other or they will start
fighting again. Make sure that your dog meets up with other dogs
as soon as is possible after the incident. Ensure that
introductions are calm and controlled and on the lead.
2. If the incident was serious and involved injuries make
a note of the offending dog's owner's name and address, together with
the dogs name. If they won't give you their details or
the informationm they give appears to be false, then don't get upset or
argue about it. Just leave the scene and report the incident to
the local dog
3. Take names and addresses of any witnesses who might
have seen the incident.
4. Try to establish the sex of the attacking animal,
particularly if more than one animal is owned.
5. If your dog needs veterinary treatment, ask for a
receipt for fees paid. If the incident was serious and traumatic
to your dog, talk to your vet about giving your dog 'memory-blocking'
drugs that will stop him from remembering what happened. These
same as what is used on firework night and have to be given within an
of the incident.
6. Photograph the injuries immediately and ask your vet/
the attending vet to sign them (the animals fur grows quickly over the
scars and the injuries are hard to describe at a later date)
7. Inform the police of the attack as soon as possible and
request that it be recorded in the Dog Bite Register, giving full
details as out-lined in 1-3 above.
8. Ask for an officer to accompany you to the owner's home
in order to identify the offending dog(s) . Show the office the
injuries caused to your animal.
If a court case is to be taken out
for compensation for your animals injuries, keep copies
of all evidence, photographs and correspondence. Failing to
do this may result in the defendants or their solicitors destroying
your documents or saying they have never received same.
As far as we can gather the police
have the power to prosecute the owner of a dangerous dog
under the Dogs Act 1906. Dogs Amendment Act 1928 and Dog Act
1871 with a view to obtaining a control order. Dangerous does not only
mean to humans; the fact that the dog chased and injured cattle or
poultry will suffice.
It is most important to make sure dog attacks on other dogs (clearly
distinct from dog fights) should be recorded in the Dog Bite Register,
since we understand that action will only be taken against persistent
offenders, i.e. after the 2nd or 3rd incident.
NB Appeal may be made to the County Court against an order for the dog
to be destroyed but NOT
against an order to keep the dog under control.
back to top
Jan 3rd 2006.
What You Should Do if
Your Dog Attacks Another Dog?
Provide your details to the other owner if they ask for
them. Offer to pay any veterinary expenses, and follow up
on the injured dogs welfare.
2. Act responsibly to make sure that other incidents don't
happen. This may mean keeping your dog muzzled and on a lead
untill you have had proffessional advice.
3. Get your dog checked to make sure that the aggression
is not health related.
4. Seek help to retrain or manage your dog.
back to top
You Are Threatened by A Dog
1. Stand Still
eye contact with the attacking dog
3. Do not
threaten and challenge the dog
Evaluate the situation and look for an escape route
your hands reasonably high. Moving hands tend to be the first
part of your body to be bitten
6. If you
have something to hand, like a briefcase or a shopping bag, use it to
block the approach of the dog. If you are a cyclist, don't cycle
harder because most dogs can outrun a cyclist. Jump off your bike
and position the machine between you and the dog
7. If you
are carrying food, use it to distract the dog because turning the dog
to an alternative behaviour is often effective
these things are not getting the dog away from you and you cannot see
the owner at hand, then shout "SIT" because most dog owners have
trained their dog to sit and many dogs will obey it like an
automaton. This may give you just sufficient time to reach a safe
9. A high
priority should be to quickly look around for help or for an object,
like a strong stick, with which you can defend yourself.
turn your back on the dog and NEVER ever run. Most dogs do not
have the courage to confront someone who is still but they may bite the
backside of someone who is running
Here are the facts as I remember them.
I hope that they will be of some value to other people and a
warning to all dog owners.
My wife and I are 63 years old and have owned two G.S.D. bitches some
years ago, so have had experience with the breed.
We now have two sisters of about seven
years old and a large mongrel bitch of eight years of age.
We have never had them insured, preferring to meet whatever
vet bills come our way and accepting the costs. They are all of good
temperament as can be vouched for by my vet. Could you send
me a copy of your magazine if you publish my account? I still find
it difficult to believe that it is all over. I will attach a picture
of the dogs with me in the lane. Add another person and you can see
there was very little room to pass!
On August 19th 2002, I was walking my three dogs along a
country bye-way, back to my car after their walk. I was with a French
student who was staying with me for two
weeks (he was the third). We were walking between two hedges on
rough ground and occupied most of the track. Without any warning, two
teen-age cyclists rushed between the hedge on my left hand side and
my dog, Pollyanna, from behind. This startled the student, myself and
my dogs as they were peddling flat out!
I made the comment to the student that
they might have given some warning that they were approaching. A few
moments later another, older cyclist (the father of one of the boys),
hurried by to my left, close enough to touch. The track here is very
narrow. He had a clear view of the situation ahead of him.
He too had given no warning of his approach from behind and we did not
know that he was coming. Pollyanna was walking at my left side close to
me at heel and the other two dogs were to my right and slightly behind
me with the French boy. I had no chance to command the dogs to go down,
as I have in all other cases of walking this track-way. I have used
this area to walk my dogs for nearly four years before, without any
Pollyanna yelped, bumped into my leg causing me to stumble and turned
to the left, possibly nipping the
cyclist on the leg. I am sure that he either touched her with
his pedal or came so close that she reacted. He said she had bitten
him removing a piece of skin about the size of the face of a watch
glass, or he could have grazed it with his pedal. The wound was not
bleeding and did not look serious. He stopped and asked who the F…k I
was and reached into his bag for his mobile phone, stating
that he was going to phone the police and an ambulance.
In a state of shock, I apologised profusely and begged him not to
report the incident in fear of my dog being put down. He eventually
agreed at that time and cycled on to meet his two companions who were
out of sight. I returned to my car, which was out of sight of the
incident and put the dogs into the boot. I then passed the three
cyclists about a quarter of a mile along the single track road peddling
The following day, I had a visit by the police who had been told that I
had refused to give my name and address. I explained the situation to
the constable, who asked
to see the dog responsible. Having met the dog and asserting that
she was not by nature vicious, he returned to speak to the cyclist.
On the constable’s return he said that he thought that the man would
not be taking the matter further, but would probably be looking for
compensation and not to offer him any money.
Two weeks later I received a phone call from the cyclist. I passed the
phone over to my wife, after he had told me that he had had the wound
cleaned three times and
once under a general anaesthetic. Then he told my wife that he has
spoken to two solicitors. He also told her that he would require a skin
graft and three days in hospital. He then made it plain that he would
be looking for compensation, at this time intimating, £1000 to
£2000. My wife replied that we would like to settle out of court
if possible. My wife did not agree to pay him, but said to him if this
was the case we would like this done legally.
He said that if it were not settled out of court, he would involve the
police again and take the matter to a civil court. Then he said perhaps
we would wait until
all the treatment has been finished in case the skin graft does not
take. He went on to say that he would ask £2000 for the loss of
his cycling holiday and £2000 for the pain and discomfort he had
suffered. My wife asked for this to be put in writing and he said that
On receiving his solicitor’s letter (a
‘No win no Fee’) stating that the dogs were not muzzled or
on leads. I contacted my own solicitor, who wrote to his to
make it plain, that as no warning had been given of his approach, I had
no case to answer. Also that there is a code of practise that cyclists
should give warning of their approach to walkers and horses and give
way. There is also no law that instructs a dog
owner to muzzle and leash the dogs in that area. He also enclosed
a letter from my vet attesting that he had treated the two dogs since
they were puppies and that they were not of a vicious nature.
Within a few days, the next thing that
happened was that I was summoned to the police station to
give a statement for investigation for criminal prosecution.
This was in November. The police got in touch with me within two weeks,
to say that they considered that there was no case to
answer. I paid my solicitor’s bill in February and thought that the
matter had been settled.
A year passed by and my solicitor informed me, that the Mr.B. has
started up the proceedings again,
after acquiring additional funding. This would appear to be
after a recent case involving horses, being panicked, jumping a hedge
and injuring a passer-bye. The inference being, that this would apply
to a dog owner, who although in control of their dog, is still liable
if someone is injured by their own actions. I had
no funding except my own savings. The whole thing had become a
I now had two statements from Mr.B however.
(First statement, 27th Sept 2002) Two
of the dogs were nosey and sniffed
around my legs as I passed at walking pace. Both dogs disappeared
behind me. I was then suddenly bitten on the right calf.
(Second statement, 16th May 2004) We think
you would agree that it is common ground that Pollyanna was frightened
by the two preceding cyclists and Mr.B. suffered the consequences. It
is not normal for dogs to bite people but it is a normal characteristic
for a dog to bite when it is frightened and we hope that this point is
This was brought to my solicitor’s attention dated 7th March 2004.
I asked my solicitor;-
Dogs that are nosey are not in a frightened state! Would it be possible
to ask what frightened state the cyclist thought my dogs were in and
why he has changed his version of the events?
1. There is a two-year gap
between these statements. In between these
times, I was re-called by the police, to provide a statement with a
view to prosecution. They considered that there was insufficient
evidence to proceed and
would not be taking the matter further.
2. Will both of these
statements be presented at court?
3. If the dogs were frightened
by the son and friend as suggested by
cycling through them, then surely they are directly to blame for the
incident and they should be the ones sued?
4. If the cyclist had a clear
could see that the dogs were frightened as he suggests, why
did he not slow down and give warning of his approach so that
I could increase my control of the dogs, if necessary?
To sum up: -
My dogs were not frightened and were walking to heel. He must have
thought that they were under control
to have attempted to pass in such a reckless manner. He ran
his bike along the side of Pollyanna provoking her to react as
I asked; - can you instruct Mr B’s solicitor of these facts and demand
that we go to court where I shall pursue the reclaiming of all of my
expenses. He had asked for £5,000 plus all costs.
I sincerely believe that the cyclist is attempting to rack up my bill
as far as he can without it costing him anything.
We will await your instructions and will come to see you when you deem
In the late November of 2004 I received a letter from my solicitor
stating that the Mr.B’s solicitor had sought the advice of a Barrister
on the clarification of the law as to whether the ‘frightened horses’
case could be applied to my dogs being frightened. The Barrister stated
that if we went to court they would have an 80% chance of winning.
My solicitor then applied to an independent barrister to look at my
position. He was of the opinion that the cyclist was the agent in
frightening the dogs if at all. Barristers cost £500 per hour!
In the New Year 2005 after consultation, my solicitor issued
instructions to proceed with the court case and asked for all medical
records. He informed me that
total costs to me could reach £20,000 if we lost.
I had self-published a S/F novel and had booked into two S/F
conventions to promote and sell my book. I attended one with some
success. Unfortunately I began to
suffer constant insomnia that in the end, sleeping tablets could not
get me to go to sleep. I had to stop taking them and try something else.
The result was that I had a nervous breakdown that lasted several
months, before I began to slowly function as normal after medication
and counselling. I did not attend the second show. At times I could not
drive or go out of the house. This left me with a considerable number
of books with no market. I sold my narrow boat to make sure that I had
enough money to pay the court costs.
I am still on the tablets at this time
and it has now reached the point where I must wean off them.
After Aug 19th 2005 had come and gone I contacted my solicitor to ask
if it was all over as three years
had passed. He said not until Dec 17th was over as the courts
could take that long to process the case if it had been presented
on the last day.
I am now free of this constant persecution, but have yet to receive my
solicitor’s final fee. The total cost of this incident will be about
£2,000 plus the damage that it has done to my self-confidence.
Most of all I still have my dogs and when it comes down to it that
matters the most.
Incidentally two weeks after the incident Pollyanna snapped her
cruciate ligament and had to have her back leg broken and reset. When
all had mended, my vet dug
out 34 staples from her leg without muzzling her. He got a lick on the
ear while he worked to ease out one that was stuck!
The question that I must now ask, is where could I get cover for public
liability and how will this
new attitude of the law leave other dog owners when they take
their dogs out for a walk? The best that I have got is a house contents
policy with SAGA. It certainly bears thinking about.
Barry E. Woodham.
reprinted with kind permission from Barry E
Woodham.Science Fiction Author
The Genesis Project.
Book 1 - Genesis 2 ------------------- ISBN 0-595-33560-8.
Book 2 - The Genesis Debt.------ ISBN 978-0-595-46411-1
Book 3 - Weapon.--------------------- ISBN ----spiral bound.
Book 4 - The Genesis Search. - ISBN ----Being written.
Book 5 - Genesis 3 ; - A New Beginning.------- Planning.
High Court upholds GSD death sentence
A BID to save the
life of a GSD condemned to death
under the Dangerous Dogs Act failed in a High Court appeal to
determine when a dog ‘constitutes a danger to public safety’.
The GSD dog named ‘Dino’ was found guilty of a minor biting incident
that took place in January of this year. Dino’s owner was advised by
her original solicitor to plead guilty to the charge of ‘allowing her
dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place’ under Section 3
of the DDA. Magistrates accepted the plea and ordered that Dino be
destroyed, even though this was the dog’s first and only offence.
The owners duly dismissed their original solicitor and appointed a Mr
Cooper to act on her behalf at a Crown Court appeal some months later.
The appeal failed, so
Mr Cooper sought Permission to Appeal to the High Court for a
Judicial Review of the case, using the legal technicality of when
a dog constitutes a danger to public safety. The hearing was scheduled
to take place on Monday, November 12th.
The owners are currently taking advice from Mr Cooper on the
possibility of one last appeal to either
the Court of Appeal or the House of Lords, still using the same
legal argument The couple have.14 days in which to decide whether
Magistrates issued a destruction order in January this year after Dino
became involved in a fight with another dog. The other animal’s female
owner stepped in to separate them and Dino bit her, breaking her
finger. The destruction order was challenged at
Northampton Crown Court in September, but the magistrates’
decision was upheld, saying that Dino had attacked the other
dog without any provocation and continued to pose a danger to public
It was argued that a canine behaviourist had supported their view that
the attack was ‘out of character’ and a ‘one off’, and that ordering
Dino’s destruction was unreasonable because there was evidence that the
dog did not pose a threat, and any further risk would be eliminated by
fitting him with a muzzle when in public. The application was
dismissed, and it was deemed that both the Crown
Court and magistrates had acted
reasonably and within their powers.
It was said that if a defendant could not demonstrate to the
satisfaction of a court that a dog was
not a danger to public safety, ‘the court was bound to make a
A case such as this is every dog owner’s nightmare, and should generate
thoughts of how we exercise our
dogs, while maintaining full control of their actions. We
may not see any threat in approaching other dogs and their owners, but
you have to be able to imagine how your dog sees the same situation.
We all like to think that our dogs are 100% OK, but we have to be
honest with ourselves, if only for the dogs’ sake. I could never
forgive myself if any of my dogs were placed in Dino’s situation
through my own arrogance, and lack
Do you feel comfortable meeting every stranger while you are out
shopping or walking? You may not be able to explain why you are not; it
may be body language, or the look in their eyes, but you side step to
avoid them. Or, How many times have you suffered a ‘Bad Day’ ~ A day
smallest gesture, or word out of place, generates an outburst that
would not occur at any other time?
How can we demand that our dogs should not feel the same undetermined
threat, or emotion? As for someone that wades in to separate
scrapping dogs with their bare
hands!!! ~ Would you, and not expect to sustain any sort of injury?!
Lords Refuse Dino Appeal
The House of Lords Judicial Committee has refused the appeal to save
the life of Dino, the 5-year-old GSD.
The appeal was lodged just after Christmas by solicitor Trevor Cooper
who has been handling the case of 5-year-old Dino since his initial
appeal against destruction.
Dino was sentenced to death early last year after his owner pleaded
guilty to a minor biting incident under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs
Act, arising from an incident when Dino got into a fight with another
dog and the other dogs owner was nipped in the ensuing fracas.
Following the High Court Appeals, Dino’s
case was then referred to the House of Lord Judicial Office
to see if whether permission would be granted to appeal to the
House of Lords.
DINO PETITION GOES TO
The fight to save the life of
German Shepherd Dino is due to be lodged with the European Court of
Human Rights this week. The petition will be ‘couriered’ to Strasbourg
where it will be decided whether the case can go
ahead or not. After the House of Lords backed every other court in
the land and ruled that seven-year-old Dino must die for biting the
hands of the woman who was breaking up a fight between him and her
terrier – owner Bryan and Carol Lamont vowed to keep their dog alive,
whatever it took. Subsequently, their solicitor, Dangerous Dogs Act
(DDA) expert Trevor Cooper, has spent the past four months preparing to
battle to Europe and his hard work came to fruition this week. The
is to be made against the British Government that sections three and
four of the DDA are unlawful. A section three prosecution concerns
cases where a dog is said to have been dangerously out of control in a
public place; section four is the punishment attached to that:
destruction. “The complaint takes the form of a petition on points of
European law,” Mr
Cooper explained. “We are saying that the sections’ construction is
unfair and its effect is arbitrary, and further that it is a breach of
European law.” The Lamonts should receive an acknowledgement that the
petition has been received and the matter will then be put before a
committee where it will be decided whether the case can proceed. “If
is the end of it,” Mr Cooper said. “If it does go ahead the complaint
can then be served on the Government.” Since it became known that the
Lamonts’ legal bill had stretched to in excess of £20,000, DOG
WORLD readers have provided a steady stream of donations to the
‘Save Dino’ fund. So far their contributions have topped £2,000.
“People have been very sweet and it is thanks to the generosity of your
readers that we have been able to get this far,” Mr Cooper said. “Let’s
see how much further we can push it. And let’s not forget that this dog
has done nothing wrong.”
Late breaking news:
Following the much publicised court appearance of the Princess Royal
under a similar Section 3 charge, Solicitor Trevor Cooper has written
to the Crown Prosecution Service pointing out that, in Dinos case, the
CPS indicated that it was ‘not in its powers’ to issue a Contingent
Destruction Order upon Dino, whereby the dog would be released, but, if
he offended again he would be destroyed. However, in the case of Dotty,
the dog belonging to the Princess
Royal, CPS allowed the court to make a Contingent Destruction Order.
Mr Cooper stated, “It is an obvious discrepancy. CPS cannot be right in
both cases. Either the ruling for Dino was wrong, or the ruling for
Dotty was wrong…………. I would hope that they will re examine Dinos case
in the light of this. I await their reply with
has his day as judge lifts death order
After three years,
£60,000 in legal fees and the intervention of an animal
behaviourist, in the end it was a 12-minute video
that saved Dino the dog yesterday.
Judge Patrick Eccles QC, lifted a death sentence that had been hanging
over Dino since an unfortunate incident in 2001 when he bit a woman in
a park after a confrontation with her terrier Ralph. The video
suggested that the alsatian was a reformed character.
His owner, Bryan Lamont - who turned to the
Criminal Cases Review Commission in his fight to save his pet
from a lethal injection under the Dangerous Dogs Act - sat with
a team of animal experts behind him at Northampton crown court
as his lawyers fought for a permanent reprieve.
In the end, none of them was needed. The short film, made by an animal
behaviourist, showed Dino frolicking peacefully with canine pals and
was enough to persuade the judge that the
dog was more pussy cat than public threat.
Judge Eccles was moved to quote Hamlet: "'Every dog will have his day,'
said the Bard, and Mr Lamont's devotion has allowed Dino to have his
day." He added: "If a Scotsman with deep pockets and spirit takes on
the judiciary to vindicate his
dog, the contest is likely to be vigorous and prolonged."
Dino, aged seven, was not in court to hear his death sentence lifted.
He was where every dog should be while the master is out - guarding the
homestead in East Hunsbury, Northampton. The Lamont house is evidence
itself of the long and vigorous battle to save Dino's life since he was
put under a destruction order for biting Elizabeth Coull, who had tried
to intervene between him and her
As well as exhausting all avenues in the courts - including the House
of Lords and the European court of human rights - Mr Lamont and his
wife, Carol, have been determined
over the past three years to show that Dino is not a threat to
anyone. They built 6ft fences around their home, used padlocks on
the gates to ensure Dino could not escape and took him for walks
They engaged animal behaviourists to assess
Dino and finally turned to the group responsible for sending
potential miscarriages of justice to the appeal court.
In testimony to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Roger Mugford, an
animal behaviourist, said: "We think a death sentence is a bit extreme.
The dog is now substantially reformed. He has passed those teenage
As a result, the commission concluded there
was "a real possibility that the destruction order ... would
not be upheld if it were referred", and it sent Mr Lamont's conviction,
for allowing Dino to be out of control in a public place, back
to Northampton crown court.
Mr Lamont said later that he was "absolutely delighted" with the
reprieve. The first thing he did was phone his wife, who was at home
waiting for news. "She's absolutely over the moon," he said.
back to top
Court spares dangerous dog
01 February 2006
A German Shepherd puppy which
jumped on a boy out playing with friends was spared a death sentence by
magistrates in Huntingdon.
Under provisions of the Dangerous Dogs Act, it was at the discretion of
magistrates whether 16-month-old Tara should be destroyed, after
causing injury to a child. Owner Carol Burrell, of Robin Terrace,
Alconbury, admitted being in
charge of a dog dangerously out of control
in a public place, after an incident in Sparrow Drive in the village on
The court heard how the youngster was out playing with friends in the
early evening, when the German Shepherd escaped from its owners' back
garden. The boy was pinned to the ground by the dog, suffering
abrasions to his left wrist and elbow.
Prosecuting, John Goodier said the dog began chasing the children, and
the victim ran round a parked car and then tripped over on the green,
where the animal jumped on him. The boy told police he was unsure
dog bit him or scratched him, but friends pointed out to him
that his arm was bleeding. The victim had already been scared of
dogs, the court heard, and the
episode had caused him distress.
John Crisp, for Burrell, said the owner "obviously regretted" the
incident and had been to visit the victim's mother to express this
sentiment. The puppy had been nine months old at the time and had
before it came to its new owners, six weeks earlier, the court
heard. Mr Crisp said the puppy was excitable and had
played with the owners' grandchildren without any problem. He
told the court the back gate, from where Tara escaped, was now
permanently padlocked, and the puppy was muzzled when taken for walks.
Magistrates fined Mrs Burrell Â£150 and ordered her to pay
Â£50 compensation to the
victim and Â£50 costs. "We have decided not to
destroy the dog, but make an order that she is
kept under proper control and is muzzled
whenever she goes outside," the chairman of the bench said.
back to top
AS-BOW FOR BITING BOYS
has been given an ASBO -an Anti-Social Biting Order. Gizmo, a
four-year-old German Shepherd, bit the
bottoms of two boys and is now forbidden from leaving his home
unless he is muzzled and on a lead.
Blackpool magistrates found owner Peter Blundle, 31, guilty of two
offences of having a dangerous dog not under control. Gizmo bit
the boys, aged 10 and 14, in the street.
Dog Control Orders
Attention all Dog owners
aware of the new Dog Control Orders, which are now being enforced
around the country. Every council now has the power to place
restrictions on where you can walk your dog, so please check with your
local authority to find out if and how these orders will affect you.
For more information please visit http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/295 This
website shows which local authorities are proposing Dog Control Orders.
back to top
from article in PRO Dogs magazine:
The "6 dog rule" ~ cause for concern?
member brought to our attention a matter which may prove troublesome to
many multi dog households, such as breeders or exhibitors.
During a visit to his home
by a Planning Enforcement Officer from the local authority, our member
was informed that the keeping of 6 or more dogs required planning
permission, for the house is no
longer considered simply a "dwelling place".
This, he said, was a result
of a 'guidance note' or 'unwritten rule' known to all the local
authorities, and on checking around, the existence of such guidance
was, indeed, known to other LA's
Through the Dog Legislatory
Advisory Group (on which Mike Findlay sits) we are trying to establish
the origins of this advice ~ which, incidentally, does not apply to
cats, horses or, indeed
We are trying to establish
how often this 'rule' is enforced, and by which LA's.
Advice from Trevor Cooper, a
lawyer with special expertise in the world of dogs, was that the 'rule'
had been enforced to his knowledge, and in the 2 cases he knew of which
went to appeal at law, both
lost in favour to the planners.
Our member, who lives for
his chosen breed, has custom built kennels in a converted stable block
to house his retired breeding and show dogs, and emphasizes that there
have been absolutely no complaints from neighbours (he lives in a rural
area). He was given a completely clean bill of health from the local
dog warden who works for the same council.
We still await some answers
by the local council involved to some very basic questions such as:
"Change of use to what?"
"Why does this only apply to
"Why the random figure of 6
dogs, irrespective of the size of the animals and size of the
My non-pedigree labrador escaped recently and 'squired' a
neighbours pedigree labrador stud bitch. He's threatening to sue
me for loss of earnings saying that the unwanted mating was down to my
negligence. Can he do this?
A. As the owner of the dog it is your responsibility to
keep it under control and you could be liable for any damage it causes
in the event that you don't. You don't say where the event
occurred but the wise owner of a bitch keeps it somewhere out of harms
way when it is in season. If the bitch wasn't under control
it weakens any case your neighbour might have. Even non pedigree
labradors have a value so I think it would be very difficult for your
neighbour to quantify the loss he might have suffered. Taking the
matter to court would hardly be worth his while but if you really think
it was your fault then I am sure you can come to an amicable agreement.