Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, it is an offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control.
This is either in a public place i.e. any street, road or other place where the public have access, and on private property.
The dog does not have to bite someone, and it includes a dog that is considered to be acting in a threatening manner. The owner of any dog that is found to act in this way can be prosecuted by the police.
This can result in fines of up to £2,000 and/or six months imprisonment, or up to two years if someone is injured. The courts may place a court order on the dog, restrict the owner's future ability to keep dogs or order the destruction of the dog.
Dangerous dogs or dogs that worry livestock or attack assistance dogs are dealt with as criminal offences by the police. The police can be contacted by phoning 101. For further information please visit Devon and Cornwall police.