It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:

• in a public place
• in a private place, for example a neighbour’s house or garden
• in the owner’s home

The law applies to all dogs. The law states that a dog is considered to be dangerous if it:

• injures someone
• makes someone worried that it might attack them.

Further information about dogs is available on the Government website here.

Dog owners can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) if their dog is dangerously out of control. They may also not be allowed to own a dog in the future and the dog may be destroyed.

From the 31st December 2023 there are new rules coming into force for XL bully dogs in England and Wales. From 31 December 2023 XL Bully dogs must wear a muzzle and be kept on a lead when in a public place. From 1st February 2024 these dogs will be banned unless you apply for a certificate of exemption.

Ideas for you

The PDSA provide advice here on recognising and dealing with dogs that show aggressive behaviour and what to do in the event of a dog bite.

The Dogs Trust can provide advice and links to dog training and behaviour specialists in your area on their website.

The Police have information about animal crime on their website here including how to report a crime.

Further information about owning an XL bully dog is available here.

The Dogs Trust has produced information to help support dog owners and provide advice for ownership of XL bully dogs here.

Things that might help

If a dog is behaving dangerously, you can report it to Devon and Cornwall Police here.

Cornwall Council’s Dog Welfare and Enforcement Team are responsible for dealing with concerns for dog welfare, dog noise complaints, dog fouling and dog control orders (such as restrictions on beaches). You can access support here.