4. Owner or person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in any place in England or Wales (whether or not a public place)

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, s. 3(1)
Effective from: 01 July 2016

Step 6 – Compensation and ancillary orders

In all cases, the court must consider whether to make a compensation order and/or other ancillary orders.

Compensation order

The court should consider compensation orders in all cases where personal injury, loss or damage has resulted from the offence. The court must give reasons if it decides not to award compensation in such cases.

Other ancillary orders available include:

Disqualification from having a dog

The court may disqualify the offender from having custody of a dog. The test the court should consider is whether the offender is a fit and proper person to have custody of a dog.

Destruction order/contingent destruction order

In any case where the offender is not the owner of the dog, the owner must be given an opportunity to be present and make representations to the court. If the dog is a prohibited dog refer to the guideline for possession of a prohibited dog in relation to destruction/contingent destruction orders. If the dog is not prohibited and the court is satisfied that the dog would constitute a danger to public safety the court may make a destruction order. In reaching a decision, the court should consider the relevant circumstances which must include:

  • the temperament of the dog and its past behaviour;
  • whether the owner of the dog, or the person for the time being in charge of it is a fit and proper person to be in charge of the dog;

and may include:

  • other relevant circumstances.

If the court is satisfied that the dog would not constitute a danger to public safety and the dog is not prohibited, it may make a contingent destruction order requiring the dog be kept under proper control. A contingent destruction order may specify the measures to be taken by the owner for keeping the dog under proper control, which include:

  • muzzling;
  • keeping on a lead;
  • neutering in appropriate cases; and
  • excluding it from a specified place.

Where the court makes a destruction order, it may appoint a person to undertake destruction and order the offender to pay what it determines to be the reasonable expenses of destroying the dog and keeping it pending its destruction.

Fit and proper person

In determining whether a person is a fit and proper person to be in charge of a dog the following non-exhaustive factors may be relevant:

  • any relevant previous convictions, cautions or penalty notices;
  • the nature and suitability of the premises that the dog is to be kept at by the person;
  • where the police have released the dog pending the court’s decision whether the person has breached conditions imposed by the police; and
  • any relevant previous breaches of court orders.