§ Mr. Hardy
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the number of incidents which have occurred in which dogs suspected to have been covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 have actually been found to be or to be likely to be cross-breeds and therefore excluded from the provisions of the Act.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, which creates criminal offences relating to dogs that are dangerously out of control in a public place, already applies to any dog, whether or not it is a cross-breed.
The fact that a dog is a cross-breed of one of those types of fighting dog specially controlled by section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 does not mean that it is necessarily excluded from those controls. Section 1 currently applies to any dog of the type known as the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino and fib Braziliero. A cross-breed of any of these types of dog is also subject to the special controls of section 1 if it has the characteristics of these types of dogs. Ultimately it will be for the courts to decide in each case whether a particular dog is of the type covered by section 1 of the Act. In any proceedings where it is alleged by the prosecution that a dog is one to which section 1 applies, the onus is on the accused to prove the contrary.
Central records are not kept of incidents in which dogs are involved but which do not result in prosecutions. Statistics for prosecutions under section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 are not yet available, but they will not, in any case, specify whether the dog involved was alleged to have been a cross-breed.