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Can someone clarify the changes in the Dangerous Dogs Act please?

(12 Posts)
Dizzydummy Tue 09-Apr-13 23:13:42

I have heard alot about the changes in the law to be able to prosecute owners if their dog attacks a person on private property which I know makes sense in relation to delivery people etc but what happens if your dog attacks an intruder?

idirdog Wed 10-Apr-13 09:22:47

"However there will be no protection for trespassers such as burglars who are attacked by a householder’s dog."

MrsZoidberg Wed 10-Apr-13 10:11:19

This seriously worries me. We are in about 2.5 acres, not all of it visible from the gate.

To get to my front door you have to go through 2 sets of gates (airlock system so we can drive cars out with no danger of dogs running out), then walk down a 40 foot drive.

So we have put a doorbell at the gate and a post box so that visitors can get our attention without having to enter the garden, and so that postmen can deliver our post with no risk of meeting the dogs. We have signs on the first gate saying to ring the bell. We have a sign on the inner gate saying Do Not Enter. So we should be totally ok, right?

Wrong! The bloody delivery men either cannot read or think they know better. Not only do they just swan in, they also leave both gates open - we have a Husky so not a good thing to do! The postmen are great, they only ever open the outer gates, and even then, only if we are out there. But couriers (we have loads) not only just walk in, they even open both gates and drive in.

So where do we stand with the new rules? We have done everything we can, and not only are these guys liable to get bitten, but my dogs may escape.

Can I claim they are trespassing hence the rules do not apply?

We are going to have to chain the gates shut aren't we? I'm also thinking of having a sign made up that says "If you open this gate you waive your rights under the Dangerous Dogs Act"

Dizzydummy Wed 10-Apr-13 12:37:12

idirdog Thanks for that, can you tell me where you got that quote from so I can print it off and keep it safe!!

MrsZoidberg I have the same trouble with people coming onto our property despite clearly seeing I have 2 GSD's!! Once the window cleaner came in through the back door and got a bite on his leg which I know is terrible but what kind of person thinks it is OK to just walk into a stangers house? I was once told that if you have signs saying 'danger loose dogs' or something like that, then you are admitting that the dogs are out of control, don't know if that is true though?

MrsZoidberg Wed 10-Apr-13 13:07:49

Our sign says Be Aware rather than beware which I believe is an issue.

We've had people just open the door too - we also have 2 GSDs plus the Husky. All are rescues. GSD bitch was very unpredictable when she came to us, but is now a beautiful girl, but will bark and snarl at people.

Our GSD boy came to us as he was under a destruction order at 6 months old sad. It wasn't his fault, but the bastards who bred him not socialising him, leaving him in a dark shed, and clear signs of physical abuse etc. He is petrified of life, and learnt that if he bites first, big scary shouty things leave him alone sad. With us, he's a great big lap dog - and the most obedient, loving dog I have ever owned. With strangers, he would fall squarely under the new legislation.

He is with us as he never needs to leave his garden (he goes into meltdown if he has to), he is safe and loved, and any "planned" visitors are protected. With some visitors (for some weird reason, big guys) he is fine, just growly, but we never ever take the risk for his protection as much as theirs.

My issue is with the unplanned - why should my dog be in danger due to arseholes not reading my very clear and bright (red writing on yellow background) sign?

SpicyPear Wed 10-Apr-13 15:05:51

There is going to be an exemption for intruders in England, but unless things have moved on in the last month or so, the draft legislation in Wales is worded to apply to bites to trespassers as well. Scary stuff.

MrsZoidberg Wed 10-Apr-13 16:33:06

That's not fair Spicy! One time we had an intruder (outside only), when we reported it to the police they asked why we hadn't let the dogs out shock

SpicyPear Thu 11-Apr-13 08:55:19

I know! Not enough people know about it either.

If there is one near you, I recommend these seminars by solicitor Trevor Cooper for getting to know dog law.

idirdog Thu 11-Apr-13 09:15:06

These are secifically by Trevor on the new proposals to the doglaw and free!

Are you up to date with the various proposals to change doglaw in England?

Trevor Cooper of Cooper & Co Solicitors is presenting half day seminars in June 2013 to guide you through what's being considered and what impact the changes could have.

It will look at:-

* Compulsory microchipping
* Extending Section 3 DDA to private places
* 'Bail' for Section 1 DDA dogs & the impact of the Sandhu ruling
* Sentencing Council's guidelines (already in force)
* EFRA committee suggestions including changes to licensing for breeders & introducing Dog Control Notices
* Introduction of Public Spaces Protection Orders (in place of Dog Control Orders) and Community Protection Notices

Thanks to our sponsors Petlog, the seminars are being provided FREE. Places are limited and so you should book ASAP while there is availability.

The venues are:-

17th June London
18th June Bristol
19th June Manchester
26th June Harrogate
27th June Stoneleigh

Nik Starmer-Smith
Cooper & Co Solicitors,
Canterbury Innovation Centre
University Road
Kent CT2 7FG

Tel: 01227 811988

Scuttlebutter Thu 11-Apr-13 09:28:09

Trevor's seminars are excellent - I've previously found them extremely useful. Wales (where I'm based) has just consulted on some changes to dangerous dog law but caused a great deal of concern by NOT making provision for intruders/burglars/domestic violence, as well as the extension of protection to cats on private land. This will mean that owners could be facing two years in jail if their dog chased a cat in their own back garden. I've been very closely involved in the work to lobby WG to change/amend some of these proposals during the consultation phase - Trevor has been very helpful over that. As well as being a dog law expert, he's also an incredibly nice man.

Just to add that the current round of free seminars are being targeted at people with a professional interest in dog law - so vets, behaviourists, rescue co-ordinators, dog wardens, EHOs etc. He also does an excellent, slightly less complex seminar aimed specifically at dog owners, who need not be so concerned with some of the aspects of prosecution for instance.

MrsZoidberg Thu 11-Apr-13 10:26:04

Scuttle - is there anything us lay people can do? I.e petition signing, writing to out local MPs etc?

I'm rural and I think these laws will have more of an impact on rural people i.e. my garden is all around my house, and my dogs roam all around it (no "back garden" as such), whereas in a town, dogs tend to only be free roaming in their own back gardens which are less likely to have postmen, couriers etc entering them. So do we need to get the MPs from rural communities on our side?

I feel really sorry for the brilliant rescues who work so hard on rehabilitating poor abused dogs who show aggression due to no fault of their own. Who will risk taking on a reactive dog now sad

Scuttlebutter Thu 11-Apr-13 13:16:13

Mrs Z, the consultation for all this happened in 2012 - there was a very extensive exercise by DEFRA, and the EFRA committee in the House of Commons also has looked at this issue in some detail. So, the publication of this draft legislation now follows the comments and suggestions that were made in detail last year. There's a link here link to the statement from DEFRA and that also contains a link to the draft legislation. It's certainly worth writing to your MP if you have a concern about this - it's still in draft form. Things are slightly different in Wales - they have only just completed their consultation phase but have made it clear that they are aware of DEFRA's plans, and for instance on compulsory chipping, it seems sensible for Wales to adopt the same implementation date. Things are complex because Animal Welfare is a devolved responsibility (also in Scotland) bbut criminal matters are not - which is what governed the original DDA. Some of the proposed measures to do with ASB also come under the HOme Office rather than devolved AW issues - complicated!

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