Man’s best friends – your dog and your lawyer

We at Stokes Partners understand the unconditional love and loyalty you receive from your canine friend.

It might be unthinkable that your dog might injure a person, or simply be beyond your control, but we would encourage you to be vigilant of the potential dangers:

  • Your dog does not have to bite someone to be deemed dangerous in the eyes of the law;
  • It doesn’t have to be included on a list of prohibited ‘dangerous dogs’; and
  • It doesn’t make a difference whether an incident happens on private property or in a public area.

Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, as amended by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, applies to every dog owner in England and Wales, and makes it a criminal offence for a dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ anywhere, including in your own house and garden.

If your dog injures another person or a guide dog, this is an aggravated offence under the Act, which carries heavier sentences. However, it is in theory sufficient for a person to feel that your dog might injure them, for the law to apply!

What should you do?

  • Ensure you have the means and ability to control your dog – at home, but more importantly when out and about;
  • Consider how you will ensure your guests’ safety, including unexpected visitors – e.g. postal workers, or children retrieving a ball from your garden; and
  • Obtain adequate insurance cover.

What can we do?

If there is a problem, a member of our Dispute Resolution Team will be happy to advise you on the terms of your pet or home insurance. Do you know whether or not your house insurance will respond, if your dog injured a person on your property? Many insurers will try to find a way to avoid paying out through cleverly-worded policy wordings which may not be easy for a non-lawyer to understand.

We can also advise you of your options if you are the victim of a dog’s dangerous behaviour, or would like to resolve matters with the owner whose dog’s behaviour concerns you.

Your dog will always be your best and most loyal friend, your lawyer probably your next best friend by providing you with specialist advice whenever it is needed.

Partner, Brendan Pang, enjoying the sunshine with his dog, Livvy

Partner, Brendan Pang, enjoying the sunshine with his dog, Livvy