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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 70416
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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My neighbours dog has got into my garden 5 times in the last

Customer Question

My neighbour's dog has got into my garden 5 times in the last 2 years and on 2 occasions attacked my friends dog. I have a 6ft stock fence,covered by trees and shrubs. My neighbour has done nothing to rectify this situation,and has used foul language and been verbally abusive. Both our properties are owned by the local authority,who say they will write to my neighbour but I know this will make no difference and may even incur reprisals. What else can I do.
DEFRA states that a dog is dangerously out of control if it is on land that it has no permission to be on and causes fear of or injury to a person or another animal. This is what has happened here as my friends dog has been attacked twice.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your question. I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What further steps can I take to ensure this dog is kept under proper control. Other than my fence there is no fencing whatsoever in my neighbours garden,nothing stopping this dog from entering other peoples property
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
I'm afraid that you've been given rather misleading advice by DEFRA.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has no application here. There is an offence under S3[3] of entering a private place where its not permitted to be but there has to be injury to a person or apprehension thereof. Other animals are not covered under the DDA 1991.

There might be a remedy under the Dogs Act 1871 which does cover other animals and private places alike. There is a very different test of 'dangerousness' under that statute though. If there have been 5 incidents though you might get over it. It depends exactly what has happened on each occasion.

That is a civil matter only even though its heard at the Magistrates Court. You can bring a complaint yourself though if the police will not do so. A lot of the time they don't know the Dogs Act 1871 is still in force so they might refuse. The only issue then would be that you will be liable for the costs if you lost.

The general goal with the Dogs Act is to get a control order. You won't get a destruction order. The court might agree to a control order that the dog be kept within secured premises though.

Hope this helps. Please press ACCEPT and then I will answer your follow up questions for free. Your question will not close but I will thereafter give you related information at no extra cost.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

There is apprehension of injury to a person. The dog in question is a large German Shepherd. In fact there are 2 of them.

How do I go about bringing a claim myself, and what would the approxiamate cost of this be to myself.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.

Were you actually there at the time of the attack and how close were you to the animals?

If so, why didn't you call the police straight away?

Please press accept and then I will give you further information for free,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

On the occasion of the first attack I was within 3 feet of the dog when it pinned my friends dog to the ground. It was baring its teeth and snarling at the other dog as it ran at her.It only backed off a little when it saw me enabling my friends dog to get back into the house.

On the second occasion I was in the house when the attack happened.I ran outside with my friend, her dog managed to escape to us in the doorway followed by my neighbours dog. My friend and myself were no more than 6 feet from the dog when the owner appeared. On the first occasion there was another dog in the garden that I was looking after for the day. On the second occasion there were 2 other dogs in my garden,my own dog and my friends boyfriends dog.I don't know what happened on the previos three occasions as I was not here but the owner of attacking dog freely admitted that she had been in my garden when my own dog was in the garden on three occasions.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.

How long ago were those occasions and why didn't you call the police?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I didn't know about the first 3 occasions until sometime after the 4th occasion.

The first attack that I witnessed was in July 2011 and the 2nd attack happened on Tuesday of this week.

I didn't go to the police because on the occasion of the first attack the owners wife promised to have a fence erected on their side of the boundary, also this is a very small community and we have to live next door to each other so I thought we could work it out between ourselves and amicably, that is obviosly not the case as I have said no such fence or any other remedy has appeared in nearly 12 months

Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
You are time barred to bring the first incident then I'm afraid. That is a summary only offence and so you only had six months.

The second isn't really a strong case under the DDA 1991. I'm afraid if you were 6ft away then there was no immediate apprehension of injury. Generally speaking reasonable apprehension cases are not often prosecuted anyway though so you haven't lost much.

There remains the Dogs Act 1871 though. I thought there were five incidents rather than just three though?

I would be delighted to continue but please remember to press accept.
Jo C. and other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
From your point of view though, the Dogs Act is just as good. You wouldn't get destruction under the DDA following the case of Flack.

The only issue though is that the fact that you haven't reported these incidents will probably be used against you I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
As i've said the reason I didn't report it was for the sake of harmony and they did say they were going to erect a fence they even told me that they had ordered the fencing
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
Yes, but he will say the reason you didn't report it is that it didn't happen or that it was exaggerated in some way or another.

In any event, the first incident is time barred.

The second is still in time but it isn't realistically a DDA 1991 reasonable apprehension point.

You could still complain under the Dogs Act 1871 but you would have to show two incidents - it is a bit more complicated than that but thats a summary. 'Dangerousness' is defined quite differently under the Dogs Act 1871. The case law basically says that there has to be more than one incident unless that incident is exceptional.

He might take that point or he might just admit the complaint. There isn't all that much to be lost in admitting the complaint. He would just get a control order in very loose terms anyway and if he is repairing the fence it shouldn't have any real impact on him.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

My friend was here on both occasions and his wife came into my house on the first occasion to see if the dog was injured.He admitted the first 3 occasions in a pub full of people.

He is not repairing the fence and has no intention of doing so.

Surely it his legal responsibility to ensure his dogs are kept on his property.

I erected my fence to keep my dog in not his dogs out. My dog has never escaped from my garden onto his or anyone elses property.

He told me he was erecting a fence after the first attack. It never materialised


Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.

I'm not saying you couldn't get the first incident in. But I'm just making the point that its not as strong as you think. The more witnesses there are the more likely it was that somebody would have reported it to somebody - not necessarily the police but the local council or the dog warden.

On the topic of securing his premises you can only actually do anything about that if you get a control order in those terms and keeping the dog within secure premises is a very common order.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

You would be surprised at how few people would report anything concerning this couple and their dogs.One bit his step-daughter and bruised her arm badly last year, nobody reported that.

So basically, I erect another fence at my own cost.

Can you give me a ball park figure of a civil action

Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
If he's caused damage to your fence then you could sue for that at the small claims court.

With civil actions under the Dogs Act though its harder to say. It depends on whether he contests it or not. If he does not then costs would be very low. If he does though it could be expensive and you cannot claim them back from him as you could at the small claims court.

You could report it to the police. Sometimes they will act on the Dogs Act 1871 offences but quite a lot of constabularies seem to behave as though its not in force.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

In your opinion what is my best course of action, do I attempt to involve the police or wait for another incident which could have more serious consequences.

The local authority have said they will send them a letter explaining that it is their responsibility to ensure that their dogs are secure, I am in no doubt that this will be ignored.

Should my friend report it to the police or local authority as it was her dog that was attacked.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
Well, either way if you don't report it then you will be in the same position the next time around.

It doesn't much matter which of you report it. The issue is whether or not his dog is dangerous.

To be honest, I think its worth reporting either to the police or to the council but if they won't act then I wouldn't risk your money on a complaint at this stage. I'm not confident the first incident would be included and then you would be left with one only which wouldn't get over the hurdle. A second incident after the first report would be a stronger case.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
How about a solicitors letter might that help maybe the threat of further action would help
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
you could do that if you think it would help. It would probably cost about £100-£150 plus VAT and it has no standing in itself. I'm never sure that it is a very good deal for that reason but it is something you're free to consider.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
OK thankyou for your time,advice and patience, it's much appreciated
Expert:  Jo C. replied 5 years ago.
No problem. All the best.