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Dog Attacks (1514A/23)


I am writing this email to request the following information based on reported dog attacks (on pets and people) recorded monthly from January 2018 to 2023 (today). I would like as much data that is available please. Here are some of the specific questions:

  1. How many reported dogs attacks were on people (adult/child/infant)?
  2. How many reported dog attacks were on pets (dog breed/cat/other)?
  3. Which breed (or type) of dog was involved in the reported attacks?
  4. Where did the attack take place (at home, on lead during a walk, off lead during walk, escaped from home etc)?
  5. What injury did the attack lead to?
  6. How many, if any, attacks led to police seizures of the dog?

Two broader questions (if they can be answered) are:

  (a) How is a dog attack defined?

  (b) Would these reports include multiple reports?

  (c) Could the same dog be reported over a number of months?


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide this information within the appropriate (cost) limit under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. Though we would be able to provide the number of dog attacks recorded, to provide any further details in relation to your questions (i.e. breed, seizures etc) would require manually reviewing each individual record. This is because the information requested is not all held in an electronically searchable format. Please also be advised that during the specified time period the Force changed crime recording systems, and therefore some information cannot be extracted from our current system (and vice versa). This means that in order to search for the requested detail, we would need to manually review each of the 5,382 dog attack records. Using an estimate of 3 minutes to review each record, this would equate to around 269 hours of work, far exceeding the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of providing you with the information is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information exceeds the ‘appropriate level’ as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice for this part of the request and if one part of a request exceeds the fees limit then S12 of the Act applies to the whole request.

However, in accordance with Section 16 of the Act I have a duty to provide advice and assistance in relation to your request and can provide some relevant information as this was retrieved during our initial research. Please find this information attached (1514A_Attachment).

This should not be taken as a precedent that additional information would be supplied outside of the time/fees legislation for any subsequent requests.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.