Dogs and Public Safety

Tragically, we still hear horror stories in the press concerning serious dog attacks. Attacks on children, in particular, are extremely shocking. A recent survey found that there were over 600 attacks on babies and young children in the UK last year.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans the breeding and sale or exchange of four kinds of dog: Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogos Argentinos, and Fila Brasileiros. Other dogs "appearing … to be bred for fighting or to have the characteristics of a type bred for that purpose" are also banned. Successful prosecutions lead to criminal penalties, including imprisonment.

Thousands of less serious dog bite attacks are reported every year, and some of these also lead to successful civil compensation cases against the owners. Some breeds are more likely to be more aggressive than others but any breed of dog can bite, especially if it is not properly trained or socialised. However good a dog is said to be with children, and however well behaved, most people advise that you should never leave children unsupervised with a dog.

Dog owners also need to consider the risk of their dogs causing injury in other ways. Before you let your dog off the lead you should consider whether there is a probability of injury to others. Are they likely to jump up at people? If so, could they knock someone over or run into the path of a bicycle or car, causing an accident? Even owners of large dogs will not be liable if there was no likelihood of such behaviour. Untrained dogs and young playful puppies are more likely to be unpredictable and exhibit behaviour likely to cause injury.

If you have been a victim of a dog bite or been injured by their unruly behaviour you could be entitled to compensation from the owner, if you can show that the dog was likely to cause injury in those particular circumstances and that the dog had not been unreasonably provoked. Not all dog owners have insurance to cover them against this type of claim, although many people are covered under their home contents insurance policy.

Ashfords' Personal Injury Team has extensive experience in all areas of personal injury claims work. If you would like to discuss a personal injury claim and the funding options available to you, please contact the team for a free, no obligation chat.

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