New dangerous dog laws

New guidelines will be introduced today bringing tougher punishments for owners of dangerously out of control dogs which harm others public places.

The tougher approach could see sentences of up to 18 months in prison.

The Sentencing Council: 'Guidelines encourage courts to use their full powers'

This new sentencing guideline encourages courts to use their full powers when dealing with offenders so that they are jailed where appropriate. It also gives guidance to courts on making the best use of their powers so that people can be banned from keeping dogs, genuinely dangerous dogs can be put down and compensation can be paid to victims.

– Anne Arnold, of the Sentencing Council

Magistrates back new dangerous dog guidelines

For the first time, magistrates will have all they need in one document to help them sentence the offender, disqualify him from future dog ownership if appropriate, order compensation to the victim and order destruction of the dog if necessary.

– Peter Chapman, chairman of the Magistrates' Association sentencing committee

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Blue Cross: 'Preventative action' key to bringing down dog attack numbers

The campaign to reform the current Dangerous Dogs Act has been dragging on for some 20 years now. We feel that there is an urgent need for preventative action, or dog attacks will continue to increase. We believe the introduction of useful, practical measures could be used specifically to target irresponsible dog owners before an attack happens.

– Steve Goody, director of external affairs at animal welfare charity Blue Cross