New criminal laws will be introduced throughout England and Wales which will increase the maximum jail sentence for the owner of a dog that kills someone. A sentence of up to fourteen years imprisonment whilst a sentence of up to five years could be given for a dog attack that injures someone and up to two years imprisonment if an assistance dog either dies or is injured by a dog attack..
Currently the penalty for the owner of a dog who has committed an attack is up to two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. The law is likely to be introduced in 2014.
If you are facing a charge under the dangerous dogs act then you should contact our solicitors as soon as possible.
Mr Paterson, the Environment Secretary, said: “This will give protection to family members, friends and visitors including postal workers, nurses, utility workers and other professionals who visit homes as part of their job.
“At the same time, there will be an exemption from prosecution for householders whose dogs attack trespassers in or entering the home. There will also be a specific offence of allowing a dog to attack an assistance dog.”
He also added: “The increase in maximum penalty for a dog attack on an assistance dog, such as a guide dog for the blind, reflects the devastating effect such an attack has on the assisted person.”
Richard Leaman, Guide Dogs’ chief executive, said: “It’s clear that the vast majority of respondents to this survey agree and we are pleased the Government is listening – though we would have liked to see a longer maximum sentence for a crime of this brutality.
“An attack on a guide dog is devastating and can rob someone who is blind or partially sighted of their means of getting out and about independently and with confidence. In some cases, a guide dog has to be permanently withdrawn from service after an attack, leaving the owner bereft and often traumatised.
“This is also costly for us as a charity. Each guide dog costs £50,000 to breed, train and support during its working life and we receive no government funding to provide this life-changing service.”