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Frequently Asked Questions

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Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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This does depend on the level of distress.

It is not advisable to force entry to the vehicle yourself in the first instance. Your first step should be to call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

If the police don't have time to get there, then you have to decide if you should take action. Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do, why and, where possible, take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if:

'at the time of the act or acts alleged to constitute the offence you believed that the person or persons whom you believe to be entitled to consent to the destruction of or damage to the property in question . . . .would so consent to it if s/he . . . had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances' (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).

(this legal reference is slightly modified for clarity)

Don't do this unless certain of your ground and are prepared to defend your actions at court in the unlikely event any action was taken.

The RSPCA can offer guidance on information on cruelty via their cruelty line at any time on 0300 1234 999. See further advice from the RSPCA on the website in related information.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.