Possession of a prohibited dog, breeding, selling, exchanging or advertising a prohibited dog

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, s.1(7)
Effective from: 01 July 2016

Possession of a prohibited dog

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (section 1 (7))

Breeding, selling, exchanging or advertising a prohibited dog

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (section 1 (7))

Triable only summarily

Maximum: 6 months’ custody

Offence range: Discharge – 6 months’ custody

User guide for this offence

 


Applicability

In accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, the Sentencing Council issues this definitive guideline. It applies to all offenders aged 18 and older, who are sentenced on or after 1 July 2016, regardless of the date of the offence.

Section 125(1) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 provides that when sentencing offences committed after 6 April 2010: 

“Every court –
(a) must, in sentencing an offender, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the offender’s case, and

(b) must, in exercising any other function relating to the sentencing of offenders, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the exercise of the function,

unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.” This guideline applies only to offenders aged 18 and older.

Structure, ranges and starting points

For the purposes of section 125(3)-(4) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, the guideline specifies offence ranges – the range of sentences appropriate for each type of offence. Within each offence, the Council has specified a number of categories which reflect varying degrees of seriousness. The offence range is split into category ranges – sentences appropriate for each level of seriousness. The Council has also identified a starting point within each category.

Starting points define the position within a category range from which to start calculating the provisional sentence. The court should consider further features of the offence or the offender that warrant adjustment of the sentence within the range,including the aggravating and mitigating factors set out at step two. Starting points and ranges apply to all offenders, whether they have pleaded guilty or been convicted after trial. Credit for a guilty plea is taken into consideration only at step four in the decision making process, after the appropriate sentence has been identified.

Step 1 – Determining the offence category

In order to determine the category the court should assess culpability and harm. The court should determine the offence category with reference only to the factors in the tables below.

The level of culpability is determined by weighing up all the factors of the case. Where there are characteristics present which fall under different levels of culpability, the court should balance these characteristics to reach a fair assessment of the offender’s culpability.

CULPABILITY demonstrated by one or more of the following:

A – Higher culpability

  • Possessing a dog known to be prohibited
  • Breeding from a dog known to be prohibited
  • Selling, exchanging or advertising a dog known to be prohibited
  • Offence committed for gain
  • Dog used to threaten or intimidate
  • Permitting fighting
  • Training and/or possession of paraphernalia for dog fighting

B – Lower culpability:

  • All other cases

HARM The level of harm is assessed by weighing up all the factors of the case.

Greater harm

  • High risk to the public and/or animals

Lesser harm

  • Low risk to the public and/or animals