Dog Act 1986 Analysis

Superior Essays
In modern societies, animals turned out to largely contribute to the development of both social and economic activities. In this sense, it is perspicaciously that a whole practical legislation has emerged to serve a beneficial purpose that is to maintain order within the community. Before considering what the Control of Dogs Act 1986 brought to the existing legislation related to dogs, it is of significance importance to clearly understand what the Act involves as well as to define what strict liability is in order to precisely assess the form of liability arising for the owner of a dog in case of a harmful conduct.
Deprived of conscience, animals are capable of doing great mischief, this is why strict liability is applied in such cases:
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Once it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that an attack was committed, no acquittal is possible contrary to strict liability offences. For instance, in the course of a scienter action, contributory negligence is a partial defence according to the Civil Liability Act 1961, as well as an act of God and act of a third act. The fact that the plaintiff is a trespasser can also constitute a defence as no breach of duty of care can arise as his presence is not reasonably foreseeable by the defendant. The lack of defence proposed by the Act is evidenced in Kavanagh v centreline Ltd in which a guard dog escaped because of the wrongful act of a third party, and caused harm. Barron J. hold the defendant liable because the dog was trained to attack, and was out of his control. The act of a third party did not constitute good defence. This decision can reflect the harshness of such liability, however it provides a greater level of protection to the public as it encourages people to take more care and pay attention. Yet, this case is specific as the dog in question was trained to attack: it was a guard dog, and so particular requirements …show more content…
Though, as demonstrated in Quinlisk v Kearney , Murphy J. evokes the relevant point that the term “has been judicially defined as including an assault which does not, necessarily, involve battery”. This means that physical contact is not required to result in an attack and so it widens the sphere of influence of the Act: it can apply to more situations. The term “owner” also plays a major role in establishing liability as an identified defendant can only be held legally responsible. Section 1 of the Act defines an “owner” as “the occupier of any premises where the dog is kept or permitted to live or remain at any particular time”. The case Leahy v Leader evokes this issue: while on the defendant’s property, the plaintiff was bitten by a dog belonging to someone else also on the property. In this situation, McCracken J. declared that “permitted” implied consent and knowledge, this latter missing to the occupier prevented liability from

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