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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

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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If a dog poses an immediate threat to the safety of the public, the police or other responsible person (e.g. vet/local authority) can order that the dog be lawfully destroyed. It is a criminal offence for the person in charge of the dog to allow it to be 'dangerously out of control' anywhere in England and Wales whether or not a public place.

The following list explains when a dog may be considered dangerously out of control-

· if it injures a person or an assistance dog, or
· it causes a person to worry that it may injure them or an assistance dog, and the person in charge of the dog has no proper control of it.

The court could also decide that a dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply-

· attacks another person's animal
· the owner of an animal thinks that they could be injured trying to stop your dog attacking their animal.

If the dog has been established as dangerously out of control but does not pose an immediate threat to the public etc., the police and local authorities now have the power to act early to prevent dog attacks before they occur. These measures could include; attending dog training classes, repairing fencing to their property to prevent the dog escaping or requiring the dog to be muzzled when out in public. See Q837 and Q835 for examples of orders the police can enforce.

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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.