Dangerous Dogs

German Shepherd lying on grass

My neighbour owns a dog which I believe to be quite vicious. I have spoken with the owner about the fact that it does not wear a muzzle. He assures me that he is a quiet dog but the breed is known to be vicious and I am concerned that it will attack my children. Is my neighbour obliged to put a muzzle on the dog whilst in public? 

The Control of Dogs Act 1986 imposes a strict liability for any injury or damage caused by a dog.  This means that the owner of a dog shall be liable in damages for damage caused in an attack on any person by the dog and for injury done by it to any livestock. It shall not be necessary for the person seeking such damages to show a previous mischievous propensity in the dog, or the owner’s knowledge of such previous propensity, or to show that such injury or damage was attributable to neglect on the part of the owner.

Dogsmust at all times wear a collar that bears the name and the address ofthe owner inscribed on it or on a plate, badge or disc. Failure to have identification on a dog can result in an on-the-spot fine issued by a dog warden.

Certain breeds of dog, including strains and cross breeds,must be muzzled whenever they are in a public placeandmust be kept on a short strong lead by a person over 16 years who is capable ofcontrolling them. Such breeds include American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, Doberman Pinscher, English Bull Terrier, German Shepherd (Alsatian), Japanese Akita, Japanese Tosa, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Bandog.

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