Sometimes, the normal dog loving owner can get caught in what is often a one off unfortunate scenario.
The 'Dangerous Dog Act 1991' was introduced to deal with essentially a narrow area of, for example, dogs being used as weapons. It is clear that in most cases it is not used in such scenario.
The DDA relates to a dog being dangerously out of control. This applies to all public and private property and to the person at that time being in charge of the dog. This becomes an aggravated offence if either the dog injures a person or assistance dog whilst out of control. It is important to note that there does not need to be an actual attack, but reasonable apprehension that the dog will injure.
A Successful Appeal
A recent Court of Appeal case of R v Leon Jones – Wharton, has shown the importance of fighting to the last point possible against any destruction order imposed by a court relating to the Dangerous Dog Act 1991. In this case at the Crown Court, a guilty plea was entered to 2 offences of being the owner of a dog which caused injury whilst dangerously out of control.
The defendant at that stage was sentenced to a community order and they destruction order was made in relation to the dog Chico. The destruction order alone was appeal to the Court of Appeal and was successful with the court confirming bearing in mind the dog behavioural report and the potential conditions put forward that the Crown Court should have been persuaded that a conditional destruction order was appropriate.
The Court of Appeal considered all facts in relation to this case and the dog was returned to the owner for four months before sentence where there was no further aggressive behaviour and there was not said to be a history of the same.
The Court of Appeal also made important comment about the fact that not only is the dog's temperament important but should be considered alongside whether the owner is a fit and proper person to be in charge of the dog.
This case further highlights the fact that it is extremely important to ensure that the right reports and information are available to a court to persuade it that the contingent destruction order be appropriate.
If you require representation
If you need to appeal against a Dangerous Dog Destruction Order in Essex, you will need expert representation to ensure that your beloved pet is given the best possible chance. You only have 21 days to appeal, you should seek expert advice immediately.
You need an expert solicitor to present a case that:
- this was an isolated incident from a good-natured dog,
- lessons have been learned,
- any triggers that led to the incident have been removed, and
- the owner is a responsible dog owner who can be trusted to comply with any reasonable conditions that the Court may require to ensure that the incident can never be repeated.
Elizabeth Bradshaw is a talented Higher Court Advocate with the expertise you require for your dog.
As a dedicated dog owner she takes pride in ensuring the best case is prepared on behalf of each valued pet. She has a varied, extensive and prolific experience in representing cases throughout from the initial interview under caution at the Police Station through to successful defence of matters at the Magistrates Court and Crown Court. Every case is given an individual tailored and targeted attention with all support given during the difficult time of dealing with your case.
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.