Tougher sentences for dog attacks
Dog owners who allow their dogs to attack people or assistance dogs face tougher prison sentences from today.
Changes to the Dangerous Dog Act also mean dog owners face prosecution if their dog attacks a person in their home or on any private property, as long as that person is not trespasser.
Across England and Wales, maximum custodial sentences for allowing a dog to attack someone have increased as follows:
- up to 14 years (from two years) for a fatal dog attack
- up to five years (from two years) for injury
- up to three years if an assistance dog is attacked
For the first time, the Dangerous Dogs Act includes a specific offence to protect assistance dogs and the changes will also see new preventative powers for the police and local authorities, so they can stop dog attacks before they occur.
Measures include steps the dog owner can take to address their own or their dog’s behaviour as follows:
- attending dog training classes
- repairing fencing to their property to prevent the dog escaping
- requiring their dog to be muzzled in public