In the UK, it’s against the law to own certain types of dog. These are the:
Pit Bull Terrier
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, rather than its breed or name.
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
The police may need permission from a court to do this.
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:
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.
It’s your responsibility to prove your dog is not a banned type.
If you prove this, the court will order the dog to be returned to you. If you cannot prove it (or you plead guilty), you’ll be convicted of a crime.
You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) for having a banned dog against the law. Your dog will also be destroyed.
Index of Exempted Dogs (IED)
If your dog is banned but the court thinks it’s not a danger to the public, it may put it on the IED and let you keep it.
You’ll be given a Certificate of Exemption. This is valid for the life of the dog.
Your dog must be:
kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public
kept in a secure place so it cannot escape
As the owner, you must:
take out insurance against your dog injuring other people
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 IED know if you change address, or your dog dies.