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Dangerous and banned breed dogs

Banned breed dogs

Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the banned breed dog types are:

  • Pit Bull Terriers - commonly known as: Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull type, American Staffordshire, Irish Staff, Irish Blue Staff
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

These dogs are deemed to be dangerous because they were originally bred for their ability to fight. Merseyside Police and St Helens Borough Council recommend that these dogs are not suitable as family pets. 

It is an offence to own a banned breed dog.

If you think that you, or someone that you know, owns a banned breed dog then you should email Merseyside Police or telephone them on 0151 709 6010. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crimestoppers.

Merseyside Police has a team of officers trained to identify banned breed dogs. If a dog is identified as a possible banned breed, the police or, if in a public place, our Dog Welfare and Enforcement Officers, can seize it.

Once a dog has been seized and identified as a banned breed, the court will decide if it is to be destroyed or to put strict restrictions on the owner and place the dog on an 'exempted list'. This list is called the Index of Exempted Dogs and is managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The costs for this are passed onto the dog owner.

Dangerous dogs

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 does not only apply to banned breed dogs. The law also gives protection to the public from any type of dog that is dangerously out of control in a public place, or in a private place. If there is any dog of any type that is dangerously out of control in a public place, both the police and the council have procedures in place to respond and take the appropriate action.

The law has been extended to protect assistance dogs, such as guide dogs and hearing assistance dogs.

The police and/or our Dog Welfare and Enforcement Officers may seize dogs that are believed to be a threat to the owner, their household or the general public.

Our Dog Welfare and Enforcement Service deals with complaints about dogs from Monday to Friday, between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Call (01744) 676789. We will investigate incidents that result in a member of the public being injured as a result of a dog attack. 

If the issue you wish to complain about incidents involving dog on dog/animal attacks or which occurred outside our standard office hours, you should make your complaint to Merseyside Police.

For more information, the Dog Welfare and Enforcement Service can be contacted on 01744 676789 or email Environmental Health.