Dog bite law in the UK


If you have been bitten by a dog and are thinking about making a personal injury compensation claim, then you may be wondering about dog bite law in the UK. There are two Acts of Parliament which govern dog bite law in the UK. These are the Animals Act 1971 and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Dog bite law in the UK

The Animal Act 1971 states very clearly that the owner of the dog is responsible for its behaviour, or the person who is handling the dog at the time of an attack. Here is what section 2 of the Act states:-

(1) Where any damage is caused by an animal which belongs to a dangerous species, any person who is a keeper of the animal is liable for the damage, except as otherwise provided by this Act.

(2) Where damage is caused by an animal which does not belong to a dangerous species, a keeper of the animal is liable for the damage, except as otherwise provided by this Act, if:

(a) The damage is of a kind which the animal, unless restrained, was likely to cause or which, if caused by the animal, was likely to be severe; and

(b) The likelihood of the damage or of it being severe was due to characteristics of the animal which are not normally found in animals of the same species or are not normally so found except at particular times or in particular circumstances; and

(c) Those characteristics were known to that keeper or were at any time known to a person who at that time had charge of the animal so that keeper’s servant.

The Dangerous Dog Act 1991 banned the breeding of certain species of dangerous dogs in the British Isles, and so under the Animal Act 1971, some dogs fall into these categories of dangerous species. These are classed as an animal

a)      which is not commonly domesticated in the UK and

b)      whose fully grown animals normally have such characteristics that they are likely, unless restrained, to cause severe damage or that any damage they may cause is likely to be severe.

Pit bulls and other dogs would fall into these categories.

Accident Advice Helpline

If you are wondering about a personal injury claim for a dog bite and are concerned about where you stand in relation to dog bite law in the UK, give us a ring at Accident Advice Helpline for expert legal advice.

You can call us at any time, any day of the year from 0800 689 0500 if calling from a landline. Or 0333 500 0993 if calling from a mobile. Why not call right now for expert advice about a possible personal injury claim? Our lines are always open for your calls.

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