Dog attacks are always of great concern, and none more so when they involve children. Scottish Borders Council sought an order under section 9(2) of the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act, 2010 for the delivery and destruction of a dog which had jumped up on a little girl and bitten her on the cheek.
The Dog Control Officer was seeking the order and the Sheriff at first instance granted the order. On appeal recently, the order was overturned when the Sheriff Principal considered that the Sheriff had erred by determining the test that the dog was “out of control” and “dangerous”. Whilst there was clear evidence that the dog was “out of control”, there was insufficient to prove that the dog was “dangerous” in terms of the Act. For that to happen, it had to be proved that the dog’s character, disposition or propensity had to be “savage, ferocious or dangerous”, and this had not been done. Instead, the judge decided to commute the sanction from capital punishment for the dog to a requirement that the dog be muzzled at all times.