• Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (outside London) and Metropolitan Police Act 1839 (London)
These Acts make it an offence to allow an unmuzzled, ferocious dog to be left at large, or for a person to set on or to urge any dog attack, worry or put in fear any person or animal in the street.
• Dogs Act 1871
Under this Act, a court may, upon complaint that a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control, order the owner to keep him under proper control or to be destroyed.
• Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991
Section 3 applies to all dogs, making it a criminal offence to allow a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place. This includes instances where there is fear that an injury might occur.
Owners found guilty under either section of the Act could have their dog destroyed, face the possibility of six months in prison and/or a fine not exceeding level 5 (at present up to £5,000).