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NO to DDA Amendments:


For your information, here is the full wording of our petition regarding the proposed amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act. The Government e-petition website does not allow more than 1000 characters to be printed on any petition so we had to condense the text. Please continue to sign and share the petition via the link below, thank you -

We, the undersigned, oppose the amendments to the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) as contained within the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill 2013-14.

We do not support the extension of section three of the DDA to ‘any’ place – for example, your home, your garden, private land, outbuildings, and commercial buildings.

Plans to extend ‘dangerously out of control’ to private property will leave dogs and their owners open to vexatious complaints, not adequately protected from trespassers and intruders, with dog owners being potentially criminalised when their dogs are just acting as dogs do in their own homes.

The legal definition of ‘dangerously out of control’ is: a dog is presumed to be such if on any occasion there are grounds for ‘reasonable apprehension’ of injury to any person - whether or not the dog has actually injured a person. Offences where any injury has been caused should not be of strict liability as is currently the case; defences should be permitted for dogs alleged to be ‘dangerously out of control’ e.g. when a dog is acting in self-defence. Furthermore, we do not believe that barking or growling alone, at an assistance dog should result in either a criminal prosecution or civil proceedings under the planned amendments.

We do not support any extension of powers to enter private property or to seize a dog from private property e.g. our homes and gardens without a warrant, if the dog appears to be or it appears to have been 'dangerously out of control’.

We object to amending the DDA so that when deciding whether a dog would constitute a danger to public safety, a court MUST consider whether the owner is ‘fit and proper’ and may consider ‘any other relevant circumstances’. The definition of what is ‘fit and proper’ is wide open to interpretation as are ‘any other circumstances’; for example, a dog owner's disability or having children is considered and a pet dog is given a death sentence because of it. There should not be a mandatory condition as to what the court takes into account. This vague description which is forced onto the court is open to abuse and will result in the death of more innocent pet dogs who are not a danger to anyone.

The focus should be on the total repeal of disastrous breed specific legislation which does nothing to protect the public, nor address the real problems of irresponsible owners and breeders, but instead creates misery, suffering and the death of innocent pet dogs.

The fundamental right to be considered innocent until proven guilty should apply to dog owners; the presumption of innocence should exist for dog and owner and the burden of proof under all sections of the DDA should be shifted to the prosecution.

Under the proposed changes to the legal aid system, many defendants would lose their right to a fair trial, as suitable legal representation and the ability to form a defence are no longer within their reach, meaning that countless dogs could be destroyed never having acted dangerously.

If the DDA is to be amended to enable civil proceedings to be enacted under all sections then legal aid should be extended to cover civil proceedings under the DDA and also the Dogs Act 1871.

The proposals are badly drafted and will do absolutely nothing to prevent dog bites, promote responsible dog ownership, or protect people and dogs alike.

This amendment is a missed opportunity to repeal the failed, unworkable and highly expensive Dangerous Dogs Act and replace it with non-breed specific legislation. These amendments are a knee-jerk reaction which takes what already does not work and makes it even worse



DDAWatch is a Not for profit company, registration number 7393352. While care has been taken to ensure information is correct it must be noted that this site should be considered a guide only. If you find yourself affected by legislation you must seek legal representation. Information given is for England and Wales only. Legislation in Scotland and N. Ireland may differ.
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