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.
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.
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.
Owners of dangerously out of control dogs which harm others in a public place will face up to 18 months in prison under new guidelines which come into practice today.