Dangerous dogs

It is against the law to let a dog to be dangerously out of control anywhere, either in a public place, a private place such as a neighbour’s house or garden or in the owner’s home.

Your dog is considered out of control if it:

  • injures someone
  • makes someone worried it might injure them

A court may also decide that your dog is dangerously out of control it either of the following apply:

  • attacks someone’s animal
  • The owner of an animal thinks they could be injured if they try to stop your dog attacking their animal.

A farmer is allowed to kill your dog it is worrying their livestock.


The government website [external link] has up to date information on the penalties for letting your dog injure or kill someone.

Banned dogs

The government website banned dogs page [external link] has up to date information on which dogs are banned and what may happen if you own a a banned breed of dog.

Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) for Dog Control

Some areas of England and Wales are covered by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) previously called Dog Control Orders (DCOs).

In public areas with PSPOs you may be required to:

  • Keep your dog on a lead
  • Put your dog on a lead if you are told by a police officer, civic enforcement officer, park ranger or someone from the council
  • Stop your dog going in certain places, like farmland, parts of a park or a children's play area
  • Limit the number of dogs you have with you (this applies to professional dog walkers too)
  • Clear up after your dog
  • Carry a poop scoop and disposable bags

You can see the areas covered by the orders on our Public space protection order page


If you ignore a PSPO you can be fined a £100 fixed penalty notice or up to £1000 if it goes to court. Please see Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) for dog controlled areas in Darlington

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