Some Questions answered:
The difference between civil law and criminal law
Civil law incurs no criminal record. It is a case of Liability, brought by an individual or an organisation.
Criminal law can incur a criminal record and is brought to court by the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service). It is a case of “Guilty or Not Guilty,”
How does the law define ownership of a dog?
Ownership of a dog is defined by who is feeding and caring for the dog and where it usually resides. Microchipping and Pet Insurance are not enough to prove ownership. I am a Licensed Dog Home Boarder and the dogs I look after, that are in my care, (even though I do not own them), I am classed as their keeper and I am responsible for the dog’s welfare and behaviour. In-Law the Keeper of the Dog and the Owner of the Dog can be different people.
What does Strictly Liable mean? Animals Act 1971
Strict Liability does not depend on whether there is any intention or negligence on the keeper’s part. If damage is caused, you are strictly liable. Where damage is concerned, negligence does not have to be proven.
If you are walking a dog lets say off the lead and it runs over to another dog, who is on a lead, and starts a fight, in the process the owner of the on lead dog gets bitten. You are strictly liable for the incident.
How is negligence determined?
Negligence does not have to be determined; if damage is caused then negligence is present. As with the example above. If you are aware that your dog has the potential or inclination to harm another person and cause injury or fear and you do not take precautions to protect the public, you are negligent.
What are the possible exceptions to liability?
If the person who is affected by the damage “injury” is deemed to be completely to blame for the damage. provoking a dog to bite you for instance.
If the person sustaining the damage voluntarily ‘accepted the risk’. For example. The person had full knowledge of the dog’s behaviour beforehand.
Animals kept on-premises or in a structure where the person who sustained the damage was trespassing. So if a Trespassers such as a burglar was entering your home without permission, with the intent of committing a crime, and your Dog attacked them, there would be no case to answer. The Burglar would, however, need to be inside or partly inside your home. Your Garden and even your car are now classed as a public place. If on the other hand, you ordered your dog to Attack a Trespasser you would be charged with a criminal offence, such as malicious wounding and as a result, quite a long prison sentence can be expected.