The Number Of Dogs Destroyed In Great Britain

Great Britain Dogs Destroyed Infographic Statistics

A total of 2,671 dogs have been destroyed by police forces in Great Britain since September 2020, new research data from has found.

With many vicious dog attacks reported in the media of late, set out to uncover the scale of the problem. Data was obtained from police forces in England, Wales and Scotland via a Freedom of Information request and covers September 2020 to September 2023.

The figure of 2,671 could be much higher given that 86% of police forces responded, whilst some forces were unable to confirm the number of dogs destroyed for various reasons, such as time constraints under the FOI Act.

For example, Northumbria Police confirmed an excess of 200 cases in which dogs were destroyed, whilst Avon and Somerset Police said their number was over 400. Not all incidents that result in a dog being destroyed are always recorded on force systems, too.

The figures indicate that the Metropolitan Police had destroyed more dogs than any other police force that responded to the FOI, accounting for over a fifth of dogs destroyed by all forces who responded.

Following behind were South Yorkshire Police, which accounted for 16% of dogs destroyed.

City of London Police destroyed no dogs whatsoever in the same period.

Surrey Police also had a low rate of dogs destroyed, accounting for less than 0.3%.

research on dogs destroyed

The Top 10 Police Forces Who Destroyed The Most Dogs

The top ten police forces with the highest numbers of dogs destroyed (and who responded to the FOI) were as follows:

  • Metropolitan Police – 605
  • South Yorkshire Police – 431
  • Avon and Somerset Police – 400+ 
  • Derbyshire Constabulary – 284
  • Greater Manchester Police – 218
  • Northumbria Police – 200+
  • West Yorkshire Police – 149
  • Essex Police – 137
  • Humberside Police – 101
  • Hertfordshire Constabulary – 64

Not all forces provided reasons for the destruction of dogs, but some of the most common were due to Section 1 and Section 3 offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Section 1 prohibits persons from owning dog types bred for fighting, whilst Section 3 relates to when a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place or a place where it is not allowed.

The most commonly destroyed dog breeds included (again, not all forces provided this data):

  • XL Bulldogs – in some cases, such as with Derbyshire Police, there was no record of XL Bulldogs being destroyed until 2021, after which point they become the second most destroyed breed in the area. 
  • American Bulldogs – most commonly destroyed dog by Devon and Cornwall Police as well as Gwent Police 
  • Pitbulls – accounted for 35% of all dogs destroyed by Suffolk Constabulary 
  • Cane Corsos – a breed that’s not commonly seen, Cane Corsos were the most commonly destroyed breed of dogs in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers – a breed that made up 41%

Out of 43 police forces in Great Britain, 86% responded to the FOI request. The only forces not to respond were:

  • Cumbria Constabulary
  • Durham Constabulary
  • North Yorkshire Police
  • Northamptonshire Police
  • Sussex Police 

If you’ve been injured in a dog attack and would like help and support with making a compensation claim, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

To learn more about our research data or to request a copy of any of the FOI responses mentioned above, please contact us.