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Your Borough Of Poole
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Dog Attacks and Nuisance Dogs FAQs

Q: What do I do when I meet an unfamiliar dog?

The RSPCA has some good advice on their website concerning what to do when you meet an unfamiliar dog?

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Q: My dog has been attacked by another dog - I am worried it will be a child next.

A: Research suggests that attacks on people are rare and most dog bites on humans take place in a home environment with a familiar dog.

If a dog bites another dog, that alone isn’t an indication that the dog isn’t going to be safe with children.

For further information on safety around dogs in particular for children, please see the following link http://www.bluecross.org.uk/1958-2850/be-safe-with-dogs.html

If you believe that a dog is dangerously out of control and there is a threat of injury or fear for your safety then you should contact the Police on 101.

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Q: My dog has just been attacked by another dog and I have been bitten whilst separating them- should I inform the Police?

A: Whilst the Police may deal with this type of incident, in most cases you should report this matter to the Dog Warden. Intervening in a dog fight is never recommended as there is a high chance of getting bitten, even by your own dog.

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Q: My dog has just been attacked by another dog- there was no owner in sight but I have just seen the dog being put into a car and I have the registration- what should I do?

A: Without the details (e.g. name and address) of the dog owner we are unable to investigate. We cannot use the Police or DVLA computer to obtain owner details from a vehicle registration.

We are not legally permitted to carry out surveillance in the possibility that the owner will bring the dog back to the location.

However, please report the incident for intelligence purposes as we will keep the details on file. Should similar reports be received and the owner’s details come to our attention at a later stage we may be able to investigate.

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Q: My neighbour’s dog is always out roaming in the street and growls at passers by - what should I do?

A: If a member of the public can safely capture the dog then please do so and report as a stray so the dog can be seized by the dog warden.

If a dog is proven to be repeatedly straying and is having a detrimental affect on the local community we may consider action under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 relates to all dogs of any type or breed. This section makes it a criminal offence for the owner of a dog and any other person in charge of it at the time to allow any dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place, or a private place where the dog has no right to be. Under this section a dog is considered as being out of control if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the dog will injure a person, whether or not it actually does so.

If you believe that a dog is dangerously out of control and there is a threat of injury or fear for your safety then you should contact the Police on 101.

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Q: My dog has suddenly become aggressive to other dogs- what should I do?

A: For advice on dog control and aggressive behaviour you should always consult your vet and/or a qualified canine behaviourist.

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Q: My cat has just been attacked by a dog – I want the dog warden to prosecute the dog owner.

Due to previous court decisions, we may not be able to take action against dog owners whose dog has injured a small animal such as a rabbit or cat. This is because courts have previously ruled that this is in a dog’s nature.

However, if a dog is persistently being a nuisance and impacting upon the local community we may consider serving a Community Protection Notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

If the cat was injured as a result of it entering a private secure garden with a dog present there may be no further action taken by the dog warden.

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Q: What can I do to protect my dog when out walking and prevent my dog causing a problem? 

A: Generally dogs are very social animals. However, like humans, some do take a dislike to others. It is in a dog’s nature to try and satisfy a hierarchy between members of its pack (this includes animals it will come across whilst out on walks) and this could result in a fight between dogs.

Most incidents are like this and both animals come away unharmed. However, sometimes things can escalate. The best way to avoid any confrontation is to ensure that your dog is kept under close control by keeping the dog on a lead. Many incidents reported to us involve both parties’ animals being off the lead and therefore not under the complete control of the people walking them.

You should remember that not all people are comfortable around dogs or will want dogs to approach them or their dogs. Issues such as jumping up in play could still cause injury or be misinterpreted as aggression. Please see the Guidance for Dog Owners on etiquette when sharing our open spaces.

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Q: My dog had a fight with my neighbour’s dog but they are now refusing to pay the vets bill - can you help?

A: We do not have the power to force dog owners whose dog has injured your animal to pay your vet bills. Should you wish to pursue vets fees privately you can make a Small claim or get legal advice. Your Pet Insurers may also be able to give advice.

Advice for families is also available at Learn with Dogs Trust.

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Contact us

Email
environment@poole.gov.uk

Telephone
01202 261700

Text Relay
18001 01202 261700

Address
Environmental Services,
Unit 1, New Fields Business Park,
Stinsford Road,
Poole
BH17 0NF