Advice about the importance of keeping your dog under control
Controlling your dog in public
It’s against the law to let a dog be dangerously out of control anywhere, such as:
- in a public place
- in a private place (for example, a neighbours house or garden)
- in the owner’s home
The law applies to all dogs.
Out of control
Your dog is considered dangerously out of control if it:
- injures someone
- makes someone worried that it might injure them
A court could also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control if either of the following apply:
- it attacks someone’s animal
- the owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they tried to stop your dog attacking their animal
You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months (or both) if your dog is dangerously out of control. You may not be allowed to own a dog in the future and your dog may be destroyed.
If you let your dog injure someone you can be sent to prison for up to five years or fined (or both). If you deliberately use your dog to injure someone you could be charged with ‘malicious wounding’.
If you allow your dog to kill someone you can be sent to prison for up to 14 years or get an unlimited fine (or both).
If you allow your dog to injure an assistance dog (for example, a guide dog) you can be sent to prison for up to three years or fined (or both).
Reporting a dangerous dog
You can report a dangerous dog by calling the police. Their non-emergency number is 101.
Where dogs are banned
There are some places where dogs must be kept on a lead, or are banned. You can find out more on our dog control page.