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New Sentencing Guidelines Proposed for Dangerous Dog Attacks

March 17, 2015
Environmental Crime

dogThe Sentencing Council have launched a consultation on new guidelines for courts in cases where owners allow their dogs to attack, injure or kill. The proposals follow changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 that came into force last year, significantly increasing maximum sentences from two to 14 years, as well as introducing a new offence to cover attacks on assistance dogs.

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people are bitten by dogs every year, while there have been 21 fatalities (including 13 children) in England and Wales in the past decade. The consultation is aimed at seeking views on the principal factors that make offences more or less serious, and any additional factors that should influence sentencing.

Judge Julian Goose, a member of the Sentencing Council, said: “Most dog owners are responsible, care for their pets properly and keep them under control, but some irresponsible owners put others at risk of injury or death and we want to ensure that the courts have the guidance needed to help them sentence offenders appropriately.”

The guidelines also include the ability for courts to ban anyone found guilty of an offence from keeping animals and to order that compensation is paid to victims of dog attacks. The consultation closes on 9 June 2015.

You can download a copy of the consultation document here