WHAT IS BSL

BSL refers to Breed Specific Legislation, this means your dog can be taken from you simply for the way he looks

In the UK, it’s against the law to own certain types of dog. These are:

Pit Bull Terrier type

Japanese Tosa

Dogo Argentino

Fila Brasileiro

It’s also against the law to:

sell a banned dog

abandon a banned dog

give away a banned dog

breed from a banned dog

Whether your dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like and its proportional measurements, rather than its breed or name.

If your dog matches many of the characteristics of a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type.

If you have a banned dog

If you have a banned dog, the police or local council dog warden can take it away and keep it, even if:

it is not acting dangerously

there has not been a complaint

 If your dog is in:

a public place, the police do not need a warrant

a private place, the police must get a warrant

a private place and the police have a warrant for something else (like a drugs search), they can seize your dog

A police or council dog expert will judge what type of dog you have and whether it is (or could be) a danger to the public. Your dog will then either be:

released or kept in kennels while the police (or council) apply to a court

You’re not allowed to visit your dog while you wait for the court decision.

 

What Happens If my dog is seized

You can give up ownership of your dog but you can't be forced to. If you do, your dog could be destroyed without you even going to court. Never sign any police paperwork

When a banned dog is seized, a police dog expert will then judge what type of dog you have and whether it is, or could be, a danger to the public. Depending on their decision your dog will either be released or kept in kennels before the case goes to court. If it goes to court, you cannot visit your dog until a decision has been made.

If it does go to court, it is be your responsibility to prove your dog is not a banned type. If you are successful, your dog will be released to you. If you are not, you will be found guilty of owning a banned type of dog. You can choose to give up ownership of your dog which would mean it could be destroyed before even going to court.

If the courts do not consider a banned type to be a danger to the public, you may be allowed to keep it. You will be given a Certificate of Exemption and your dog must be:

neutered
microchipped
kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public
kept in a secure place so it can't escape

You're not allowed to visit your dog while you wait for the court decision.

As the owner, (of a banned type) you must:

Take out insurance against your dog injuring other people (Dogs Trust provide this for £25 per year)
Be aged over 16
Show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days
Let the Index of Exempted Dogs know if you change address, or your dog dies

Image by Mike Burke