4. 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

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 for such period as it thinks fit. 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. The court shall make a destruction order unless the court is satisfied that the dog would not constitute a danger to public safety. 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, it shall make a contingent destruction order requiring that the dog be exempted from the prohibition on possession or custody within the requisite period. 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.

Note: the court must be satisfied that the person who is assessed by the court as a fit and proper person can  demonstrate that they are the owner or the person ordinarily in charge of that dog at the time the court is considering whether the dog is a danger to public safety. Someone who has previously not been in charge of the dog should not be considered for this assessment because it is an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to make a gift of a prohibited dog.