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What's the law if my dog bites someone who enters my flat.

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by That guy, May 20, 2020.


  1. That guy

    That guy PetForums Newbie

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    Yesterday was full of drama... First he broke he dew claw then I had an intruder into the flats I live in at 02:30
    The question. In the event if I encounter someone who unlawfully entered the building in the halls of the building I live in (not my personal flat) and they attack me with the dog on a leash, not setting the dog on them, and the dog bitten them would there be a case to have restrictions put on him?

    For the context of what happened, not required to answer the question.
    My dog is a GSD, Spinone mixed mutt (12.5% of each and the rest of him can't be identified via DNA test that his last owner did) which originally was a stray from Romania.
    He's very well socialized but is good at picking up on dodgy people, he's only been funny with people twice when out in public which were late at night and one guy was hiding in a bush that we were going to walk past about 20m ahead and another hiding behind a bin at the end of an alleyway when I was out with a friend and he doesn't go mental he just give one or two barks and walk stand straight up intront of me tensed up and growling (but the leash is still loose)

    The building I live in is an old chapel converted into flats and people had previously said last year before o moved here when there was issues with the front door not swinging enough to lock, it's a door which slowly closes then suddenly at a certain point speeds up and when it actually closes it then locks it's self, homeless people would come in and sleep on the third floor which no one from the building really goes up (apparently people didn't know it was happening for several weeks).
    Apartments on the second floor have two levels but the doors on the third floor can't be opened from the hallway only from inside the flat as they're fire escapes so none goes up there. People only found out when a guy high on heroin was staggering around and the door got fixed.
    Recently the door is playing up the same, for about 2 weeks.

    Last night I got woken up around 02:30 by the dog growling/in guard mode, he doesn't react to people walking around in their flats/opening their doors or any of the main doors or people walking past my door/knocking on my door. And as I trust his judgement I did a sweep of the full building with him, on leash, and he was searching the hidden hall way bits. On the third floor he picked up in a scent and he rose his hackles and curled his tail up, not in the happy way but alert way as he's got a sickle tail, and was pulling along with his nose to the ground after a scent. When we reached to top of the stairs that lead to the second floor which joins the stairs from the second floor down to the front door I heard the door close and he went down the stairs to the front door as fast as he could being on a short leash and was growling/clawing at the front door which again is something he doesn't do even if he's super excited to go out he just sits and wait for me to open the door. When we went out he followed the scent trail pulling, again he doesn't normally pull as he's well heel trained so this wasn't excitement, and we reached the entrance to the side ally at which point I went back to the flat as there is no point/it being stupid going further.
    But I think whoever it was that heard me coming didn't realize I was up looking for them and I think they just thought I was walking around as around 20mins later I heard someone gently pulling at the side door which leads to the car park, which is right next to my flat on the ground floor, and the dog was giving low growls so I announced I was coming out with a dog and told him to bark which he did and I heard someone running up the steps that lead from the door to the car park and by the time I opened the door with the dog on leash I saw someone running out of the car park.

    I don't think it was someone trying to rob anyone as given the history and it was bad weather that night it was probably a homeless guy trying to find somewhere dry.
    But it made me think in the event I encountered someone in the hall way, I made sure to start each floor from the back of the building to the front to make sure if I saw someone they'd have a clear escape route to the front door to reduce the chance of a violent encounter, and they decided to attack I have no doubt he'd bite (not me over hyping my dog I've had dogs that I know for a fact are all bark no bite but he 100%) would they legal have a leg to stand on? I know morally he wouldn't but what matters is what the law exactly is.

    Why I'm not sure is they could argue I was in no immediate danger in my own flat but I actively went out of it to investigate, though there are families with young kids and young women living alone in this building which is my main concern.

    I don't do bite work with him and never would, him or any dog, so no one can use that as an argument about how the dog is trained to bite in the event of something actually happening. Only related form of work I do with him is tracking, flushing ect as I'm training him to be a gun dog and doing room searches/searching for "lost" people and people hiding in wardrobes ect mainly just to give him stimulation/able to put his nose to use which is partly why he was very effective at following directions of were to search yesterday, in my building in the halls there are lot of tucked away dead ends behind multiple corners ect.
    Again he's a well socialized dog and he's fine with encountering people who live here in the halls at night and everyone here likes giving him a cuddle. Just for whatever reason he picked up something was wrong in the building at the other end of it which NGL I'm happy with.

    Cheers all
     
  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Unfortunately, you could fall foul of the Dog Law if he bites someone (even an intruder, crazy as that is to me).

    I wouldn’t go out with him and investigate tbh, but rather call the Police.

    I’d also get on to the Landlord to sort the door out so it shuts immediately someone leaves.
     
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  3. rottieboys

    rottieboys PetForums Senior

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    I agreed, call the police...Never put your dog in harms way....They could have a knife.
     
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  4. MilleD

    MilleD PetForums VIP

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    It does beg the question though, would the 'burglar' report being bitten if they were breaking in?

    I suppose some might be stupid enough?

    Def get the main door fixed though, then no more problem.
     
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  5. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    I thought there was a clause about biting intruders - the problem being though that you were in communal areas so they are not technically intruders, could have been visiting another flat. I think if you were actually being attacked and you said you were taking your dog out for a pee or going for a bit of exercise round the unused part of the building then you would be ok.
     
  6. MilleD

    MilleD PetForums VIP

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    You mean instead of hunting them down Rambo stylee? :)
     
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  7. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    You are very unlikely to be prosecuted for them biting an intruder, although you are falling foul under DDA realistically no one will prosecute (unless your dog has done real damage). However it's not a situation I ever want to be presented with as I really don't want my dogs feeling they have to use that amount of force to defend themselves/the house/me.
    I think there was a case where a child let a dog access the door when a police woman was knocking and the dog bit her. They were not prosecuted or anything but obviously were told to be careful in future!
     
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  8. Sacremist

    Sacremist Mum to 2 cats and a dog

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    I would be more frightened that my dog could be injured/killed if they were carrying a weapon tbh!
     
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  9. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    There is a lot in here to unpack. I'll leave the legalities to the UK based folks, but I would like to address a few other points.
    Your dog is not trained to defend himself from human attack, I would not put him in the position to have to do that.
    I would much rather my dog default to tolerance than defense, even in an encounter of heightened arousal. Mainly because the overwhelming majority of encounters will be those where it is not appropriate for the dog to bite. Think of things like an emergency where medical personnel are trying to tend to you or a loved one, you really don't want the dog thinking that now is a time to take charge and go on the defensive.

    If you were not being attacked, no one really attempting to rob or harm you, why not just call the relative authorities and have them come deal with the intruder? Why put your dog in that situation?
    If it was the women and children you were worried about, why not check on them instead of wandering around?

    A little nit-picky, but I also wanted to address your comment about dogs being "trained to bite." Done correctly, bitework is not about teaching a dog to bite - dogs already know how to do that very well ;) It's about teaching a dog when and where to bite, and most importantly, when not to bite. Arguably a well trained bite-sport dog is more safe in situations of arousal, because that is exactly what they have been trained for - to be very highly aroused and still refrain from biting until cued to do so, either by the handler or the behavior of the decoy.
     
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  10. That guy

    That guy PetForums Newbie

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    To address a few things, note if I sound passive aggressive honestly not just explaining a few things brought up.

    1. The site manager has been informed. If they don't send someone soon to fix it I'll escalate it to pressure them into sorting it out.

    2. I'm not going to go and knock on the woman's door at 02:30 to wake her and her child up over my dog having a funny feeling, given the layout of the building no matter where you are in the building if a struggle/fight was happening you'd hear it. Especially given right now she needs all the rest she has working in the local hospital.

    3. I'm not going to call the police over my dog having a funny feeling. Tbh if I directly encountered the person I'd only call the police if they were refusing to leave, attacked or wasn't a rough sleeper trying to find a place to rest but someone trying to commit a proper crime as it would be a waste of their time and mine otherwise. Yes illegally entering the building is a crime but end of the day if it's just a homeless guy looking for a place to sleep what can the police really do especially if he left by himself. Obviously if I knew directly from my flat that someone broke in for sure I would call first and stay in my flat. But again in that situation I didn't know if someone is in or not so not going to waste police time on my dog having a funny feeling.

    4. He's fine with encountering strangers in the building, people just moving in or people visiting/leaving a friend's, wanting a fuss so not worried about him getting funny with a harmless stranger.

    5. He's first reaction isn't to try to bite or go mental. He doesn't even bark like crazy he just barks one or twice to alert me and will then stand Infront of me watching it and quietly growling. He'd only bite if they attacked me.

    6. He was on a short leash so he could only get them if they went for me. Normally when going through the building, like when we come back after a walk or visiting another flat, he walks through the building off leash and if a door opens next to him he moves out the way and wait for me to either tell him to move on in in which case he ignores it or for the person to call him over for a fuss.

    7. End of the day to me having a dog is about having a companion and as part of having the company ect part of having a companion is protecting me if needed. I'm not actually against bite work if it sounded like I am. The men in my family were all dog handlers in the army. The only reason why I wouldn't do it with a pet isn't me not trusting the dog to be too reactive, not let go when needed ect. I know if he was actually trained he'd be better at letting go if something ever happened. And if I was in the USA I 100% would do bite work as over there they have better home protection/self protection laws (only thing I personally think the US dies better ) but in the UK when you read things like a woman getting fined as a burglar slipped when climbing in the kitchen window and knocked a knife of and stabbed himself as it's her fault for leaving the kitchen too unsafe for him I wouldn't be surprised that they'd try to use the fact he's trained to bite to make the dog seem aggressive and to argue I set the dog on them when they're trying to leave. When this way at least they can't use that argument as it's a case of the dog being on a short leash that isn't "trained to be aggressive" and it's owner got attacked so it tried to protect me.
    So when I was saying about a dog being trained to bite that was me saying that might be an argument used against us.

    I'm fully aware bite training is more training a dog when to be ready when to be relaxed and importantly when to bite and let go. Again I was just using it as an example on how it can be twisted by a lawyer.
     
  11. That guy

    That guy PetForums Newbie

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    I will add before some asks why is he normally off leash in the building but I put him on in that situation it was because in the event I directly encountered someone I wanted him on a leash so they couldn't argue that he chased them down when they tried to leave. The fact that as I put him on his short leash, which is only 4ft or 120cm, it would be immediately obvious that if he did get them it was only because they came for me rather then using the escape routes I purposely left them. I started each floor from the back of the building going to the front so there would be a clear escape route to the main front door to reduce the chances of someone feeling trapped. Obviously if they were at the end of a dead end they'd be boxed in but I would be able to go back the way I came to still provide an escape route, rather then them freaking that they got to run around the building.
     
  12. That guy

    That guy PetForums Newbie

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    Hopefully the door will be sorted soon and as people say that will be problem solved. But it's only be relatively recent it's played up this time. I think the reason why someone found out so soon is because I'd assume they test them regularly to see, there's a homeless camp in the woods next to our car park up a steep bank which we aren't fussed about as for the most part (pretty much for everything apart from this building stuff) they are respectful and don't make a mess and are well hidden, you'd only know about it if you are out late at night and you see someone coming in or out of the bushes that leads to to woods. Otherwise you'd have no idea.
     
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  13. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    How do you know this?
    Most dogs only have self preservation in mind. They would bite if they feel threatened, rather than someone they live with gets attacked. They are great at scaring people away, as quite frankly people seem to think dogs are protectors of people but that's really not true at all.
     
  14. That guy

    That guy PetForums Newbie

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    Btw another thing I'll add based around the case with the women getting done as her kitchen was too unsafe. I know in most cases home intrusions ect are taken sensibly and that's a rare situation but the fact that was allowed to happen or even up for serious debate is what made me loose faith in the legal system when it comes to home invasions
     
  15. That guy

    That guy PetForums Newbie

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    With him I feel confident that he would, I've had big dogs that look scary, like a GSD X Staffy cross, which I knew was all bark no bite.
    But with his reaction to sketchy situations I feel confident that he would.

    But whether he actually would or wouldn't isn't my point. My point is if he was to bite he'd only do so if they attacked for the simple fact he was on a short leash so he would only be able to reach them if they attacked.
     
  16. That guy

    That guy PetForums Newbie

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    But put it this way even if he wouldn't actually do it he'd be a good deterrent. And again as I said in my reply that's not the point. I'm not going into if he would or wouldn't as there is no way of knowing unless if that situation happened. My point is in the event he did it would only be if they attacked me given being on a short leash he wouldn't be able to reach them unless they did so, so please don't try to make this discussion onto something it's not. Thank you
     
  17. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Am not making it into a discussion it's not my point being is dogs are mainly about self preservation, yes they maybe a good deterrent for any intruder on say a noise level or look of a dog. However I wouldnt hold bets on any dog would attack someone because an owner gets attacked.. Dogs don't think like that per se. They think of themselves and what they see as a threat to themselves.
     
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  18. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    Why?

    If you felt there may be an intruder in the building, you were putting both yourself and your dog at risk.

    Had there been an intruder, he could have been armed and neither you nor your dog are trained to deal with such a situation.

    Surely more sensible to stay in your flat and contact the Police?
     
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  19. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    I would not completely agree with you on this. Yes, most dogs dont give a damn about protecting but some breeds are much more protective of owners which is why they are used for police and army work and have their natural talents put to use.

    I once got in an argument with a bloke in a park late at night in the pitch dark. My 3 dogs were off lead and they disappeared out of sight and joined me when the bloke had moved on! But on the other hand I had a collie who was very very protective. A non dog friend who she had not made friends with but always ignored bent over my daughter when she was a toddler. It was in the kitchen next to the island so no way round. Tess was the other side of my daughter and she gave no warning, just launched herself ready to clear my daughter and have him. Luckily I was there and she was very obedient and dropped like a stone when I yelled down. But that dog was protecting without a doubt.
     
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  20. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Reminds me, something similar happened to me years ago. I was round at a friend's house, and met her dog for the first time. Friend went out of the room to get something, leaving me with her small daughter (aged about 18 months). Friend sort of dashed back in, the dog reacted, jumped up and bit me. Friend said she thought the way she'd come back had made the dog think I was a threat to the child.
     
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