My Dog or / I Have Been Attacked By Another Dog


 Multiple pieces of legislation apply to dog owners in Northern Ireland. This guide will help you understand your responsibilities, but it is not to be considered legal advice. The information below applies to Northern Ireland only. The rules may be different in the Republic of Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland.

My dog or /I have been attacked by another dog

A dog attack is an incident in which another dog either injures you, puts you in fear of being injured, or injures your pet. If any of those things happen, the owner of the dog may be guilty of an offence.  Dog attacks should be reported to PSNI.  Depending on the seriousness of the injuries suffered, the owner may receive a fine of up to £500 and/or up to two years in prison.  A court may order the dog be put to sleep (euthanised) or place conditions on the owner of the dog.

You may also be able to make a personal injury claim against the dog owner for the injuries you have sustained. For such a claim to be upheld you will need to show that the owner of the dog was negligent – i.e. that the dog who attacked you was ‘dangerously out of control’ – for example they were not suitably restrained in a public place etc. Typically, you have 3 years from the date of the incident to initiate legal proceedings. Damages may be reduced if you in some way contributed to  the likelihood of the attack ; for example, acting provocatively next to a dog who was clearly agitated etc. Personal Injury claims must be made in the County Court.

If your pet is injured as a result of a dog attack you may be able to make a civil claim for damages.  For example, you may be able to recover the cost of vet treatment required as a result of the attack. If the total value of your claim is £5,000 or less, you can use the Small Claims Court. A guide to small claims and the application form can be found here. If it is more than £5,000 you would need to make a claim in the County Court.

If you are considering making a civil claim in the County Court, bear in mind that it could be a complex, time-consuming and expensive process.  Therefore, you should consider taking legal advice before making any claim.


The Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 , as amended, article 28 – attacks on animals, article 29 – attacks on persons.

Sentencing Act 2020 s.122.

Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 1976,

Neeson v Acheson [2008] NIQB 12