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Dangerous dogs

The Police will deal with issues relating to dogs that act dangerously or aggressively in such a way as to put a person in fear for their safety. It does not actually have to have bitten anyone for action to be taken. You should phone the police on tel: 101 to report the incident.

There are two principle pieces of legislation which are used to deal with dangerous dogs.

Dogs Act 1871

Under this Act a complaint may be made to any magistrates’ court that a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control in any place, including private property. If the magistrates find that the dog is dangerous, they may either order the dog’s owner to keep it under proper control or order it to be destroyed. A fine can be imposed for breach of either order. The meaning of dangerous includes dangerous to other animals, including dogs. Proceedings can be brought by the police, local authorities or individual members of the public.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

This Act tackles the problem of dangerous dogs by:

(a) Prohibiting possession of named breeds except under strictly controlled conditions.  Breeds currently controlled in this way are:

    • Pit Bull Terriers
    • Japanese Tosa
    • Dogos Argentinos
    • Fila Brasileiros

(b) Imposing sanctions on the owners of dogs and those in charge of them which are dangerously out of control in a public place whether or not they actually cause injury to a person.

Complaints about dangerous dogs are dealt with by the Police. The council will deal with complaints about dogs which are causing a nuisance or are straying.

Where a person is convicted of an offence under this Act the Court may order the destruction of the dog and impose a fine of up to £5,000.

For more information contact us or visit the website.

Useful links

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Dogs Act 1871 - noise, neighbours, pets and pests information


Contact details

Environmental Health & Licensing
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
Herts, SG1 1HN

01438 242908 / 242916