Dangerous Dogs Consultation Launched
p>DEFRA have launched a consultation on the introduction of maximum prison sentences for dog owners whose dogs kill or severely injure. Currently the maximum prison term is set at two years, the consultation would look to increase this to a life sentence. The views of stakeholders and the public will be used to influence changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. There are approximately 210,000 attacks every year resulting in 6,000 hospital visits with 16 deaths since 2005. Lord de Mauley the Animal Welfare Minister believes those figures are the reason why the law needs to change; “Dog attacks are terrifying and we need harsh penalties to punish those who allow their dog to injure people while out of control.”?
In February ministers put forward plans to change the Dangerous Dogs Act which at present, only covers attacks by dogs in public places and private areas where animals are prohibited from being. 14 year old Jade Anderson was tragically killed in an attack by four dogs in a friend’s house in Greater Manchester in March but the police feel they are unable to take action under the current legislation. Not everyone is convinced that tougher sentencing will begin to address the problem, talking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, RSPCA Head of Public Affairs David Bowles said, “What the government has proposed is only having a notice after the dog has committed the offence.” Proposals for tougher sentencing also extend to attacks on assistance dogs with numbers currently showing an all time high of 10 reported incidents a month. The consultation runs until 1st September.?