Animals can be dangerous not only because of the diseases they can carry, but because of the physical damage they can cause to property and to people. The law tries to protect the public from these animals by making owners of certain animals get a licence. People can also be disqualified from owning dangerous wild animals.
The main legislation regarding licensing is the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and in Northern Ireland, the Dangerous Wild Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 2004.
These laws aim to ensure that private individuals keep dangerous wild animals in circumstances that create no risk to the public. These individuals must also protect the welfare of the animals.
Licences are required for any animal that appears on the schedules to both the Act and Order.
Licences are issued by the relevant local authority or the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland.
These authorities will only grant a licence when they're satisfied that:
If the authorities grant a licence, they can impose certain conditions, such as:
The Act and Order don't apply to any dangerous wild animal kept in a zoo, circus, pet shop or registered scientific establishment.
Other legislation that also touches on dangerous animals include:
Seefor more information on dangerous dogs.