Expert Witness Services from Shaun Hesmondhalgh

Shaun Hesmondhalgh

Shaun Hesmondhalgh

Director - The Way of the Dog


I am available as an expert witness specialising in Dangerous Dog Legislation to support private clients, the police, legal counsel, and the judiciary in complex cases involving dogs and their behaviour.  Whether your case is privately funded or supported by the Legal Aid Agency I can provide support and help you to advance your individual case.

You will benefit from my comprehensive working knowledge of Dangerous Dog Legislation and the ability to interpret such legislation appropriately. I will work in coordination with you and your legal team to ensure that the dog in question is expertly and objectively assessed and that the subsequent technical report is diligently produced and completed to a extremely high standard.

I am a Full Member of the Expert Witness Institute and I am recognised by the Canine & Feline Behaviour Association as an Expert Witness. Both of these organisations have stringent application, vetting, and probationary periods prior to applications being accepted by board members. Additionally, I am listed in directories such as the UK Register of Expert Witnesses and the National Expert Witness Agency, both of which conduct independent vetting procedures prior to agreeing membership.

Estimates for services, including a list of fees and charges, will be made available to legal teams representing privately funded clients or clients funded by the Legal Aid Agency. Estimates will be provided for those seeking Prior Authority from the Legal Aid Agency.

For a full précis of my experience and qualifications, related references – and a confidential discussion – please contact me using the details shown on our General Enquiries page or complete the form below.


Expert Witness

Providing support through the meticulous and proportionate assessment of dogs prior to the production of technical reports appropriate for legal process. Available to attend court proceedings and face cross-examination.


Expert Advisor

Available to support the investigation of the circumstances surrounding alleged breaches of Dangerous Dog Legislation. This can be as a lead investigator or as an advisor to an investigation or legal team.

Single Joint Expert (SJE)

Available to support both parties where a SJE is appointed by the Courts. At all times acting impartially and with the utmost fairness to both parties.

Dangerous Dog Assessment

If under Section 1 Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 a dog is suspected of being a prohibited breed (Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Braziliero) or is viewed as a dog of ‘type’, and has been seized in accordance with the Dangerous Dogs Act, a formal assessment of ‘type’ may be required to support your case. I am able to complete such an assessment and identify whether the dog is prohibited under Breed Specific Legislation, or, characteristic of a dog of ‘type’.

If under Section 3 Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 the dog is considered, or suspected of being, dangerously out of control or a danger to public safety I will conduct a comprehensive and meticulous assessment of the dog’s temperament and behaviour. My aim will be to identify or challenge the following; motivating factors, future prognosis of behaviour change, or propensity to be dangerous and therefore a danger to public safety.

If under Section 4B Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 an application for a Destruction Order, or Contingent Destruction Order, has been applied for there may be a requirement for the dog to be formally assessed in order to satisfy the Courts that the dog in question does not constitute a danger to public safety.

All assessments are conducted in a humane, transparent, and ethical manner, and without placing inappropriate stress and pressure on the dog. I adopt an objective approach to all assessments conducted, regardless of the previous case history. My approach is both balanced and measured in application and reporting to ensure it is robust enough to withstand legal challenge.

Private Clients & Self Representation

There are occasions where clients choose the route of self representation and may seek an assessment prior to attending court proceedings. Such occasions may arise when a dog owner is alleged to have failed to control their dog in a public space and/or attacks another dog or animal, or, it is is alleged that the dog has killed or been worrying livestock.

I can support clients during self representation, however careful consideration should be given to engaging with a legal expert before instructing a canine expert to support an individual case. Regardless, it is paramount that engagement is only with a reputable, qualified, or accredited canine expert. An individual case may be at risk of being undermined if due process is not adhered to correctly or the assessment is deemed unsuitable by the prosecution team.

Caution should be exercised when using social media platforms and discussion forums, as comments made may be well intended they may be misleading and prove to detrimental to an individual’s case in the event of legal proceedings.

For a no obligation estimate of services please contact The Way of the Dog Ltd using the contact form below.

Why Choose The Way of the Dog?

I am highly experienced in security and criminal investigations with over 24 years police experience fully conversant with UK civil and military law relating to aspects of investigations and the gathering of evidence. I have spent many years as a Police Dog Handler, Specialist Criminal Investigator, and, a Crime Manager and I am highly practiced in recording and producing meticulous evidence.

I understand the needs and demands of serious and complex legal case management and have a proven track record in compiling and managing high profile multi-investigation files. I am experienced in presenting detailed and nuanced information to specialist and lay audiences alike. I understand Civil Procedure Rules and Criminal Procedure Rules, and recognise my overriding duty to the Court.

Attention to detail, subject matter, an outstanding work ethic and excellent service is what I guarantee. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the quality of report writing ensuring that it comprehensively supports the legal process. A thorough assessment of the dog enables me to produce detailed technical reports.

I can support major investigations as an experienced professional in the specialist field of dog behaviour and alleged offences contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act. My experience with the Service Police (Special Investigations Branch) includes senior crime management and providing expert interview advice to Senior Investigating Officers during Major Investigations in accordance with the ‘Police & Criminal Evidence Act’ and the ‘Guidelines for Achieving Best Evidence’.

I possess qualifications and national accreditations that qualify me to analyse witness and suspect testimony identifying areas of weakness requiring further clarification or investigation. I am Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act (CPIA) Disclosure trained possessing clear understanding of the rules pertaining to the appropriate disclosure of information.

For a full précis of my experience and qualifications, MOD and related references – and a confidential discussion – please contact me using the details shown on our General Enquiries page or complete the form below.  A Fee Engagement Letter will be made available upon an initial formal request to provide support.

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    Want to know more about TWOTD?

    At The Way of the Dog, we believe that all members of the dog industry should be open and honest about their qualifications, experience and knowledge to provide current and prospective clients with the information needed to make an informed decision on who they want to handle their dog.

    Find out more about The Way of the Dog, Shaun and his approach to dog behaviour and training by visiting the pages below.

    Our Philosophy

    How does TWOTD differ to other trainers & behaviourists?

    About Shaun - In Brief

    An introduction from TWOTD's founder

    About Shaun - In Depth

    Shaun's experience and qualifications

    Dog History

    Shaun's personal dog owning history

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