Dog Bite Law – What Do You Need to Know?

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Dog Bite Law – What Do You Need to Know?

Dog Bite Law – It’s Barking Mad!

It is an unfortunate fact that the legislation governing Dog Bite Law in the UK is confusing, complicated and quite frankly a bit of a mess! We’ll try our best though to give you an overview of the situation and keep things as simple as we can!

Animals Act 1971

This act was introduced so that owners of animals would be made strictly liable in certain circumstances for injury and damage.

Easy then isn’t it?

Well not quite because this Dog Bite Law distinguishes between:

“dangerous” animals – a species that is not commonly domesticated in the British Isles and when not restrained is likely to cause severe   damage in which case strict liability applies


“non-dangerous” animals in which case liability depends on a whole host of factors including whether at the time of the dog bite the  particular species was displaying characteristics “not normally found in animals of that species or not normally so found except at  particular times or in particular circumstances” AND the owner had knowledge of those characteristics.

But that’s Gobbledygook! What do I really need to know?

There can be no doubt about it Dog Bite Law is confusing and difficult to interpret but what does the Dog Bite Law mean in practice? What are the really important questions I need to ask when considering whether my claim is worth making?

  • Whether the Dog Owner knew or ought to have known their dog might bite. Finding this out may well be a very simple question of fact but your solicitor may have to make a long line of enquiries to establish the dog owner’s state of knowledge at the time of the dog bite injury;


  • Leaving aside the Dog Bite Law a fundamental question is whether the Dog Bite owner actually has insurance? If you have the strongest claim in the world but the Dog Owner has no insurance very often there is no point in pursuing matters further.  However in our experience most  Dog Owners are responsible and do have either bespoke policies of insurance or else are covered under their general house contents insurance. Again the existence of an insurance policy can often be established by a committed and experienced solicitor working hard on your behalf.



More Information

If you would like more information on dog bite law why not visit: 


Dog Bite Law Compensation Claim Solicitors

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