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Aggressive dogs

Aggressive dogs are those animals that behave in an aggressive manner, bite or attack other animals or people. Both the Police and the Council have powers to deal with aggressive dogs, as set out below.

Attacks on people

Although rare, dog on human attacks do occur. If you have been attacked by a dog then you should report the incident immediately to Gloucestershire Police on 101. It is not the responsibility of the Council’s Dog Wardens to deal with attacks of this type, although they will assist the Police if requested to do so.

Dog on dog attacks

Dogs do fall out on occasions and this can result in "scuffles" between dogs, most of which leave both dogs unscathed.

However, sometimes matters can escalate and serious attacks can occur, leaving animals in distress and/or injured. The best way to avoid any confrontation is to ensure that your dog is kept under close control by keeping it on a lead.

The vast majority of incidents that get reported to us involve both parties’ animals being off the lead and therefore not under the complete control of the people walking them. In those circumstances neither dog could be said to be “under proper control” and therefore we are unable to progress the complaint.

If, taking into consideration the above, you wish to report an incident to the Council, then please ensure that, if possible, you:

  • check both dogs thoroughly for any wounds – photographs can be useful;
  • do not continue to exercise your dog as the movement could cause any smaller tears to enlarge rapidly;
  • seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible if your dog is injured; and
  • take down the other party’s details in case it is needed for insurance or prosecution purposes

Severe dog on dog attacks should be reported to us on 01453 754478 or via environmental.health@stroud.gov.uk

Action can, on occasion, be taken to deal with a dog on dog attack under the Dogs Act 1871. This piece of civil legislation can be used by the Police, Local Authorities and by the owner of a dog which has been attacked. It provides for a complaint to be made to the Magistrates' Court that a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control. It should be noted that, other than in exceptional circumstances, a single incident is unlikely to be sufficient to prove that a dog is dangerous.

If Magistrates find that a dog is dangerous, they may order its owner to keep it under proper control, including measures such as muzzling, keeping it on a lead, excluding it from specified areas and any other measures of control that they consider necessary. They may even order the destruction of the dog.

The matter of veterinary costs associated with the care of the injured dog always remains a private matter between the dogs’ owners. The Council cannot be involved in the recovery of veterinary costs.

Dog attacks on livestock

All dog attacks on livestock should be reported immediately to Gloucestershire Police on 101.

This page was last updated: 19 September 2017

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