Dogs Seized By Police
The main powers of seizure are covered under section 5 of the Dangerous Dogs Act. This confers powers to seize in public where a dog is dangerously out of control or in private with a warrant under section 5(2).
In reality many forces don't get a warrant and attend a home intending to use Section 19 of PACE. This relies on "Lawful entry" to your home. If you allow or invite police in to discuss something, they may then claim they can seize your dog without a warrant. This is happening more and more and is even written into the Dangerous Dog Policies of many forces.
Rarely has this been challenged as unlawful, but we have had some successful challenges made in court that have decided that there was unlawful seizure. Dogs have gone home and kennel fees wiped.
Section 19 of PACE states:
General power of seizure etc.
(1)The powers conferred by subsections (2), (3) and (4) below are exercisable by a constable who is lawfully on any premises.
(2)The constable may seize anything which is on the premises if he has reasonable grounds for believing—
(a)that it has been obtained in consequence of the commission of an offence; and
(b)that it is necessary to seize it in order to prevent it being concealed, lost, damaged, altered or destroyed.
(3)The constable may seize anything which is on the premises if he has reasonable grounds for believing—
(a)that it is evidence in relation to an offence which he is investigating or any other offence; and
(b)that it is necessary to seize it in order to prevent the evidence being concealed, lost, altered or destroyed.
Section 19 of PACE has NO POWERS OF ENTRY and you do not have to allow Police in. Take advice on this independently before agreeing to anything, Step outside to speak to them and have a sensible conversation.
Section 5(2) of the DDA allows Police to request a warrant to seize from a magistrate. This warrant must be shown to you on arrival and a copy left with you. Take a photo of it if they will not give you a copy immediately. Write down the names and collar numbers of attending Police Officers for later chasing up. The warrant allows entry whether you are home or not so ensure you get good advice before refusing entry for any reason if Police arrive without a warrant.
Do not be deliberately obstructive, get advice from us, solicitors etc before agreeing anything.
Police may ask or even try to insist you MUST sign their disclaimer or even that you HAVE TO put your dog to sleep yourself. This is not true, there are no powers to force you to put your dog to sleep or to sign a disclaimer. Police have powers to seize as above, but do not have powers to force signatures on a disclaimer or to pts dogs.
Police have no powers to euthanise dogs, only to hold them as evidence UNLESS YOU sign a disclaimer. Owners are often put under pressure to sign before having any opportunity to get independent advice and many find out too late that Police destroyed their dog.
If you choose to sign due to the nature of your dog or the incident, that is understandable, but not because Police told you there was no choice.
We recommend you always seek legal advice. Contact us for recommendations.
If you are looking for behaviour advice for your cat or dog, see our main site SafePets UK, options for all budgets www.safepets.co.uk