The amended Dangerous Dogs Act came into effect in England and Wales on 13th May 2014. This applies to all dog owners no matter what size or breed. If your dog causes injury to someone or if someone feels worried that it could potentially cause them injury, then your dog is classified as Dangerously Out of Control. This law is applicable, regardless of whether or not the dog is on your property.
There have been some terrible incidents involving dog attacks in recent years, and the law did indeed require review in order to enable the courts to bring the owners of dangerous dogs to justice.
However - the current law is ridiculous in the sense that no mitigating factors can be taken into consideration. There is no defence if your dog makes someone feel worried!
I have recently witnessed an incident where a large Akita attacked a small dog that ran onto his property. The small dog was not under control. The owner of the small dog ran after her dog and beat the Akita to get it off her little dog. She put her hand into the Akitas mouth, incurring a small puncture, on her hand - the Akita didn't bite her (or she would have obviously had more than a single puncture wound) and she only needed a wash and a plaster on the wound according to medical reports. She is now prosecuting the owner and demanding the Akita is destroyed.
A couple of gentlemen own a cat. They feel worried that their cat may hurt if it goes into the garden of a large dog. They want the large dog to be destroyed for the safety of the community, despite this large dog never having caused them or anyone else any harm...
There is now nothing to protect dog owners in this country from being targeted by compensation claimers, who can attack your dog and then claim damages from you, for any scratches that might warrant as much as a plaster!
Owning a dog in the UK is now a serious liability. I would like the law to be changed so that the level of injury and circumstance involved in the individual case is taken into consideration. I would like people to have to justify why they "feel worried" about a dog, before it can be classified as dangerously out of control.