For the first time, we have seen the full picture of the damage done by dangerous dogs attacking people in the capital.
Figures from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime now, for the first time, include dog attacks which happen on private property and not just those that have happened in public.
The change has come about because of amends to the Dangerous Dogs Act made on 13th May 2014. The main amendment was that dogs must be kept under proper control in “any place in England or Wales (whether or not a public place)”. This includes in people’s homes, which was not the case before. The figures from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime have changed to match this.
These figures reveal the true number of incidents in London involving dangerous dogs. 1,400 offences took place in London last year. That's up from 936 in 2013.
When dangerous dogs attack they can leave victims in need of surgery, in some cases giving them life-changing injuries. The elderly and young children are the most vulnerable to dog attacks and there have been tragic cases where people have been fatally injured from dog attacks.
One such case is that of Gloria Knowles who died from blood loss after being attacked by five dogs in 2012. The attack took place when she was on her way to feed two Bordeaux French Mastiffs, two American bulldogs and a mongrel. The dogs, which have since been put down, belonged to the daughter of Mrs Knowles who lived next door to the 71-year-old.
Additional changes to the law mean that police and appointed local authorities can now seize dogs that are deemed dangerously out of control in private places as well as public places. Lewisham and Enfield topped the list for the most number of dogs seized in the London boroughs.
If you have been bitten by a dog you can claim against the dog's owner for the injuries you sustained. However, there is little point making a claim unless the dog in question was insured. If the police were involved they should have enquired about insurance. Unfortunately, the law does not require compulsory insurance for dogs and even when dogs are insured, owners are not forced by law to provide insurance details.
For further reading see our earlier blog: Public Liability: The Risk We Owe to Others
Slater and Gordon Personal Injury Lawyers offer a free consultation for people injured in dog attacks.
For more information call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.
Immediate legal representation and rehabilitation support are available anywhere in the UK.