On May 13th 2014 changes were made to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 of England and Wales. This act affects every dog owner whether you own a Chihuahua or a Great Dane. Every body should be aware of the existing part of the act that states it is illegal for a dog to be 'dangerously out of control'. A dog does not need to bite someone to be considered out of control, it still applies if a person is afraid or believes that your dog may bite them.
Previously it was only an offence for your dog to be 'dangerously out of control' in a public place. Now the act applies to private land including your home and garden. The law provides a defence if your dog attacks an intruder in your own home but it does not extend to your garden or any out buildings, so if your dog bites an intruder in your garden it will still be an offence.
It is now also an offence for your dog to attack an assistance dog, and this carries a penalty of up to 3 years imprisonment.
Police and other appointed authorities now have the right to seize animals considered 'dangerously out of control' from private property where as before they only had the right to do this in a public place.
What do you need to do to comply with the new law ?
Make sure your garden is secure, so not only can your dog not escape but also take reasonable steps so your dog cannot meet unexpected visitors into your garden. It may also be advisable to ask neighbours to not let their children retrieve balls etc. on their own if this something that already happens.
Delivery, post and utility workers or any other authority that has the right to visit your home should expect to do so without coming into contact or feel threatened by your dog.
If your dog is reactive to visitors them put them in another room where they do not have access to the person. Also teach your dog to greet people in the proper manner jumping up may be considered threatening to some people, as well as inadvertently causing injury.
Do you think these changes to the law will help or do you think this focuses too much on after the fact and not on helping to prevent dog bites in the first place ?