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Jill Headford

Posted 10 May 2013
by Jill Headford

Dangerous dogs – law change

A draft bill to amend the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is published today.

But will it help horse riders? Not really. The key change is to section 3 of the 1991 Act which makes the owner/person in charge of a dog guilty of a criminal offence if it gets out of control in a public place and injures a person. The changes are:

  • to extend this offence to all places, public or private and
  • to include assistance dogs as well as people

So the offence now covers private land but it will still not be committed when a dog attacks and injures a ridden horse unless the rider is also injured by the dog.  This is unlikely to happen since the dog is focussed on the horse not the rider.  Even if the rider is thrown and hurt, s/he still can’t be said to have been injured by the dog.

It is quite right that assistance dogs should be treated differently from other animals but I do I find it odd that horses which are carrying riders are treated the same as any other animal despite the very serious injury which can be, and frequently is, caused.

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About the author

Jill Headford

Jill Headford

Partner and Solicitor

A partner in the firm since 1994 and an experienced Court and Tribunal advocate, Jill specialises in resolving disputes and is a member of the Property Litigation Association