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Aggressive dogs

Our responsibilities

North Devon Council has legal powers under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 external website to:
  • mount a prosecution where someone allows a dog to be dangerously out of control
  • deal with specially controlled breeds

The police have similar powers.

Your responsibilities

You are obliged to keep you dog under control. 'Dangerously out of control' does not mean that the dog has to bite someone. It includes a dog that is considered to be acting in a threatening manner.

Conviction for breaching the Dangerous Dogs Act can result in fines of up to £2,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment, or up to 2 years if someone is injured. The courts may place a court order on the dog, restrict the owner’s future ability to keep dogs or order the destruction of the dog.

If a dog does cause injury and the case is proven in court, the dog will be destroyed, with maximum penalties for the owner of two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

Owners of the breeds specially controlled by the act must carry a certificate of exemption allowing them to keep their dogs.

The breeds named are:
  • Pit Bull Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier types
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Angentino
  • Fila Braziliero

All owners of the above breeds must be registered at their local police station.

The dog must be:
  • micro-chipped
  • tattooed on the inner thigh
  • covered by third party insurance
  • neutered

In addition, all controlled dogs must be muzzled and on a lead when in a public place and kept in the charge of a person over the age of 16.

Any person not carrying a certificate of exemption is liable to have their dog seized by a police officer or the NDC's dog warden. A court case may then follow to establish whether the person is in possession of an unregistered dog. If this is found to be the case, the court will likely order the dog to be destroyed and sentence the owner to six months in prison and/or a fine not exceeding £2,000.

Contact information

To contact the Customer Service Centre:

Telephone: 01271 388870
For Typetalk: precede with 18001
Text: 07624 804042
Fax: 01271 388451
Web form: report an incident
Web form: request a service

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Face to face:

Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
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