Dog Bite Claims and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Following the media coverage of a surge in dog related attacks in late 2023 and the subsequent amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in relation to XL Bully’s taking effect from 31 December 2023, it seems inevitable that a rise in dog-related Personal Injury Claims will follow.

The 1991 Act

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 came into force in an attempt to prevent dog related attacks and criminal activity, following a surge in Dog related incidents in the UK. It banned the ownership, selling, breeding, abandoning, or giving away of four types of dogs (now five with the inclusion of XL Bully’s on 31 December 2023). The Act does not take a dog’s DNA into account and instead goes on the “look” of the dog, on the basis that the dogs included are typically “bred to fight”. The Act has evolved over the years, with its initial ruling ordering a mandatory destruction order of all dogs who met the specifications outlined. In 1997, these mandatory destruction orders were removed and replaced with an Index of Exempted Dogs, which is a register of banned dogs where a court has decided they do not pose a risk to the public.

2023 Reforms

Much like the reason for the original Act, 2023 saw a rise in highly publicised XL Bully related dog attacks and subsequent deaths, with the Prime Minister making the announcement in September 2023 that XL Bully’s were to be banned, following the death of a man in a suspected attack.

I have been attacked by a Dog – what can I do?

Much like any other injury that wasn’t your fault – you are able to bring a Personal Injury claim for injuries that you have suffered because of a Dog attack, whether the attack was by a banned Dangerous Dog or not. 

The type of claim depends on the nature of the attack.

CICA Claims

If the injury was as a result of dog being used as a weapon to purposefully inflict injury – then you may have a potential claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (or the CICA). The CICA is a government-funded Authority that makes payments to the victims of violent crime, including those who have suffered injury as a result of a dog bite.

CICA claims are difficult as you will have to demonstrate that the owner of the dog has committed a crime of violence and there must be deliberate intent that led to your injuries. 

The CICA scheme requires all claims to be submitted within two years of an incident.

Civil Claims

If you have been injured as a result of a dog owners’ negligence, then you may have a Civil Claim against the individual responsible. The owner may have a defence if they are able to show that the dog had not exhibited this kind of behaviour before, or they had reasonable control over the dog. Claims of this nature can also be complicated by the fact that the individual may not have the means to satisfy any judgment made, especially if they do not have Insurance that covers these kinds of disputes. 

The usual limitation rules apply, and you have three years from the date of the injury to make a claim, the exception being children who have until their 21st birthday to make a claim and for a person that does not have mental capacity; there are no time limits. 

How we can help?

At Smith Partnership our Personal Injury experts can navigate these various different scenarios and help to guide you as to the type of claim you are able to make for your injuries. 

Whatever the case may be, if you have suffered injuries due as a result of a dog attack or accident of this nature, do not hesitate to get in touch today on 0330 123 1229, send us an email via or complete our contact form.

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