Personal protection dog firm supplies victims of home invasions
Fear of crime is driving business for a personal protection dog training and supply firm which counts former Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell and Prodigy frontman Keith Flint among its customers.
A1K9, which is based in Pontarddulais, specialises in the supply of personal and family protection dogs as well as providing obedience training.
Its founder Charles Wall started the business as a hobby and now supplies dogs ranging in cost from £7,000 up to £25,000.
Mr Wall said fear of crime is a key driver for his business and added: “Sometimes the fear of crime is worse than crime itself.
“Many of the people who have come to us over the years and bought dogs have been victims of quite nasty home invasions, some of them have been forced to empty safes and give access to other valuables under threat of things being done to their family if they don’t comply.
“These are people who target people’s homes, sometimes armed, sometimes mob handed.
“One of my dogs tends to even the odds a little bit because nobody wants to volunteer to be the first one to get bitten.”
Mr Wall said the legality of dogs biting intruders depends on the circumstances of why the dog has acted in that way and added: “This was clearly outlined by the Home Office a little while ago when they were talking about changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act.
“It said the changes in the Act will give no protection to people who are entering somebody’s house without just cause or reason to do so.
“In other words, if you are going into somebody’s house intent on robbing them and you are offering violence towards them then they have a legal right to defend themselves.
“If their dog happens to be skilled enough to be able to defend them then so be it.
“We’ve sold a dog to a judge in the past so I think that speaks volumes.”
Mr Wall said a lot of his clients are based outside of Wales with customers in 32 countries worldwide including Dubai, Bermuda, Egypt, Holland.
A1K9 relies on imports for the vast majority of the dogs it buys with many coming from the Czech Republic.
The firm’s founder said: “The blood lines tend to be better, the dogs pre-disposition towards working tends to be better.”
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has introduced changes to the law concerning dog control which were added to the Dangerous Dogs Act in both England and Wales on May 13.
A defence known as the ‘householder case’ was brought in as the Westminster Government was keen to ensure homeowners should not be prosecuted if their dog attacks a burglar or trespasser.
Under the changes, a dog may not be considered to be dangerously out of control if it is in, or partly in a building, or part of a building that is a dwelling (i.e. a domestic property), or forces accommodation and, at the time, the person being attacked is in, or is entering the building as a trespasser, or where the householder is present, he believes the person being attacked to be in, or entering the building, or part of it as a trespasser.
In short, the defence does not cover incidents in a back garden (e.g. a child climbing over a fence to get a ball back).
The dog must either be in or partly in a dwelling (i.e. a place where someone lives) and the person being attacked must be in or entering a dwelling and either be, or suspected to be, trespassing.
The legislation means someone could be prosecuted if a dog attacked a postman delivering mail, but probably not if someone was breaking into a house to steal something.