Byrne Carolan Cunningham Solicitors - Control of Dogs Act
I own an XL Bully dog that has made some headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. The breed has a reputation for being vicious. My neighbour has complained to me about the fact that my dog does not wear a collar or muzzle. My dog has not attacked anyone before and I consider him to be a relatively quiet animal. Will I be liable if he attacks someone?
The Control of Dogs Act 1986 imposes a strict liability for any injury or damage caused by a dog. This means that the owner of a dog shall be liable in damages for damage caused in an attack on any person by the dog and for injury done by it to any livestock. It shall not be necessary for the person seeking such damages to show a previous mischievous propensity in the dog, or the owner's knowledge of such previous propensity, or to show that such injury or damage was attributable to neglect on the part of the owner.
Dogs must at all times wear a collar that bears the name and the address of the owner inscribed on it or on a plate, badge or disc. Failure to have identification on a dog can result in an on-the-spot fine issued by a dog warden.
Certain breeds of dog, including strains and cross breeds, must be muzzled whenever they are in a public place and must be kept on a short strong lead by a person over 16 years who is capable of controlling them. Such breeds include American Pit Bull Terrier, Bull Mastiff, Doberman Pinscher, English Bull Terrier, German Shepherd (Alsatian), Japanese Akita, Japanese Tosa, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Bandog.
Although an XL Bully dog, is not on the main restricted list it is categorized under the ‘Bandog’ tag as restricted.
You must also hold a dog license for your dog. All dogs over four months must have a license.