Some of the most harrowing cases we see in London’s courtrooms are owners being prosecuted for the actions of their dogs. 

The Dangerous Dogs Act applies to all dogs and their owners and makes it illegal for a dog to be "out of control" or to bite or attack someone. 

Additionally, a dog could also be considered “dangerously out of control” if it attacks another animal.   

Legislation on dangerous dogs demands that an out-of-control dog be destroyed unless the court is satisfied it doesn't present a danger to the public. 

In cases where someone in injured, the dog owner can be jailed for up to five years, or up to 14 years if the dog kills somebody. 

Here are some of the dangerous dog cases heard in south east London in recent months: 

Danielle Roberts 

News Shopper: Danielle Roberts Danielle Roberts (Image: Met Police)Danielle Roberts, 42, of Byron Drive in Erith, tried to cover up a devastating XL Bully attack on her daughter’s 10-year-old friend.  

She was out shopping when her boyfriend’s dog mauled the young girl at her home.  

When her panicked daughter phoned to tell her about the attack, Roberts said “sort that girl out or we’ll be in trouble”.   

The seriously injured young girl was then told to hide in the bathroom from police, who had been called by a neighbour.   

Roberts initially refused to let police inside the house until the injured girl staggered downstairs and called out “help me”.   

As she drifted in and out of consciousness, the girl told officers: “If I die tell my parents I love them.”   

Roberts told the court: “I’ve got no excuse. I was panicking. I was anxious. I was scared.  

“When she appeared at the top of the stairs and came down, I immediately stepped to the side and police rushed to her.  

“The sight of her, I was.... it was horrible. I was distraught. I wish I had been there that day, it wouldn’t have happened.” 

Roberts wept as she was sentenced to 20 months in prison for perverting the course of justice and being in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog which caused injury.  

Read the full story here - Erith mum told girl, 10, who was mauled by XL Bully to hide from police in bathroom. 

Amy Legemah 

News Shopper: Amy LegemahAmy Legemah (Image: Met Police)Amy Legemah, 37, of Atlee Road in Thamesmead, cried “he’s my son” as a judge ordered her XL Bully be put down for attacking a seven-year-old boy. 

On March 12 last year her XL Bully Hugo bit a child on Attlee Road in Thamesmead.   

“The boy was running and playing with another child when the XL Bully went to him without warning, grabbed his leg and bit it,” the court heard. 

Then 11 days later Hugo and her other dog, a Rottweiler named Luna, attacked a terrified student.  

Legemah tripped and dropped both Hugo and Luna’s leads as she left her flat to take them on a walk.   

Hugo ran off first, followed by Luna.  An 18-year-old student who was passing the flat said the XL Bully stared at her before launching an attack.   

He jumped at her, biting her elbow and right knee, before Luna joined in the attacked and bit the woman’s ankle.   

The woman, who was knocked to the ground, said: “The incident made me fear for my life. I was very scared at the time and it has really shaken me up.”   

Legemah was given a one-year community order. A judge decided that Hugo should be put down. 

Read the full story - Thamesmead XL Bully owner storms out of court as judge orders dog be destroyed 

Nathan Simmonds 

News Shopper: Nathan SimmondsNathan Simmonds (Image: NQ)Nathan Simmonds, 43, of Robert Lowe Close in Deptford, was banned from keeping dogs after his Staffy attacked two people. 

His dog was taken from him after it bit someone’s hand at a Tesco store in June 2022.  

The dog was then returned to the 43-year-old under the terms of an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) in which he agreed to keep the dog muzzled in public.  

But Simmonds failed to do this and in September 2022 the same dog mauled a teenage girl outside his home on Robert Lowe Close. 

The teenage girl was taken to Kings College Hospital for treatment to her arm.  

Ms Sodipo said: “Now when she goes out she’s scared when she sees other big dogs walk towards her. She goes in the opposite direction and she’s worried about being bitten again.” 

The dog was then put down, but Simmonds then got a new dog – a 10-month-old Alsatian-Staffy cross.   

Read the full story - Deptford man's Staffy put down after biting two people... so he got a new one   

Judge Heathcote Williams told Simmonds: “You are not a fit and proper person to have a dog, as your two convictions and your failure to keep the dog safe between the two incidents show.  

“I must say that is a remarkably poor choice of a dog. A very powerful dog for you to choose given your history.”  

He handed Simmonds a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and banned him from owning dogs for five years.