Whilst only very few dogs are specifically known as being dangerous, all dogs have the capacity to act aggressively, bite and cause injury.
What is a dangerous dog?
The following dogs are considered to be dangerous dogs under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991:
It is illegal to possess such a dog without a certificate of exemption, which is granted once the dog is neutered, insured, and has a micro-chip implant. These dogs cannot be in a public place without being muzzled and being securely kept on a lead by a person who is not less than 16 years old.
Furthermore, under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, an offence could be committed if any dog is dangerously out of control in a public place. Even if it is not in a public place, but in a place where the dog is permitted to be and it bites someone, or frightens someone, the owner could still be prosecuted.
Who is responsible for dealing with dangerous dogs?
Unlike in the case of stray dogs both the local authority and the police have a responsibility for responding to complaints involving dangerous dogs.
In practice complaints involving stray dogs tend to involve a joint approach unless it becomes clear that one agency is better placed than the other to deal with a particular complaint.
In instances where a dog is attacking sheep and other livestock the owner of the livestock can in law shoot the attacking dog.
What should I do if I am confronted by a strange dog?
There is no simple answer, nor set formula to solve the problem of unfriendly dogs. However, most dogs tend to conform to predictable rules of behaviour.
This information may help you to avoid trouble:
You should remember that dogs rarely attack so don't be too anxious about every dog you meet. Most are scared about getting into a fight but like to act tough in their own territory.
My dog has been attacked by another dog what can I do?
Unless a member of the public was at risk at the time of the attack, this would be considered a civil matter between you and the owner of the other dog concerned.
However, the Dog Control Team would be more than happy to advise you regarding appropriate action and may consider visiting the owner of the dog for an informal discussion.
I've been bitten by a dog - what should I do?
It is important to, in the first instance, obtain immediate medical help if the bite is serious, especially if your anti tetanus inoculation is out of date (a booster is normally required every ten years).
You should then immediately contact the Dog Control Team in the Council on 01437 764551 and also Dyfed-Powys Police on 101.