Whilst the majority of dog owners are responsible, unfortunately a minority still fail to pick up dog waste and allow their pets to run out of control.
Please see our 'Dogs Public Space Protection Order' page for full details.
The Order contains a number of measures to enable us to address this irresponsible behaviour – including requirements for:
- owners to pick up after their dog
- owners to place any out of control dog on a lead if requested
- dogs to be on a lead in a public cemetery
- dogs not to be present on any formal sports pitch or enclosed children’s play area
- between 1 October and 31 March, dogs not to be present on or near land used as a High Tide Roosting Sites for overwintering birds
- between 1 May and 30 September, dogs not to be present on Croyde or Combe Martin beaches
- dogs to be on a lead in certain locations in Braunton Burrows at certain times of year
Dog owners who do not adhere to these controls could attract a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100, or prosecution.
See one of our Neighbourhood Officers talk about the dogs PSPO in this video:
Dogs out of control
A 2014 amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act makes the legislation applicable to public and private areas. Chasing, barking and jumping, any behaviour that results in the person feeling as though they are in danger is a breach of the act.
North Devon Council has legal powers to:
- mount a prosecution where someone allows a dog to be dangerously out of control (dog on dog attack)
- deal with specially controlled breeds
The police have similar powers, in particular, where a dog attacks a person or livestock.
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 six months imprisonment and a sentence of up to:
- five years imprisonment if someone is hurt
- 14 years imprisonment if the victim dies
- 3 years imprisonment for an attack on a service dog
The courts can also 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 certain breeds must carry a certificate of exemption allowing them to keep their dogs. These breeds are:
- Pit Bull Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier types
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Angentino
- Fila Braziliero
If you are an owner of one of these breeds, you must be registered at your local police station.
The dog must also be:
- tattooed on the inner thigh
- covered by third party insurance
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.
If you do not have a certificate of exemption for a controlled breed, you are liable to have your dog seized by a police officer or the NDC's dog warden. A court case may then follow to establish whether you are 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 you as the owner to six months in prison and/or a fine not exceeding £2,000.
It's important to check whether your dog is allowed to be off-lead. Many popular dog walking locations have signs saying, “dogs must be kept on lead”, and it's essential to follow these rules for the safety and enjoyment of everyone.
We have been made aware of increasing instances where pregnant farm animals are being attacked and chased by dogs in North Devon, causing them to sadly miscarry. When walking your dog, please keep consider what animals you may come across and if you're walking in a new location and unsure on what you will find, please keep your furry friends on a lead, even if they have a good recall.
Did you know, it's a criminal offence to allow your dog to ‘worry’ livestock, which means chasing or attacking. Your dog does not have to physically harm a farm animal for you to be on the wrong side of the law.
Farmers are also allowed by law to shoot dogs who worry their animals as a last resort.
For more information on dogs and livestock, please visit the Blue Cross website.