Time For Action On Dangerous Dog Attacks

Legal Experts Reiterate Calls For Measures To Protect Workers And Public  


New calls for more to be done to protect postal workers and the general public from the threat of dog attacks have been welcomed by legal specialists who represent victims seriously injured in such incidents.

Dog attacks have rarely been out of the headlines in recent years due to a spate of serious cases, including notably an incident in Swindon in which a toddler suffered significant facial injuries after he was mauled by a neighbour’s pet.

The issue has now been thrust back into the spotlight as ITV1’s Tonight programme looks at the devastating impact that dog attacks have had on victims, as well as the Government’s current work on introducing new measures to reduce the potential risks of dangerous dogs.

Among those interviewed for the programme is Paul Coleman, a Sheffield postman left seriously injured after a shocking dog attack ordeal by two dogs during his delivery rounds.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist lawyers, who represented Mr Coleman following the incident in 2008 which led him to gain funds for rehabilitation via the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme, are backing the latest calls for an improvement in dangerous dogs legislation and further measures to protect people from the threat of attacks.

David Urpeth, an expert in dog bite injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Reports of serious dog attacks across the country have become an increasingly common sight in the news over the past few years, yet it has always seemed that the Government has been slow-moving to really address the issue.

“While it is welcome that the Government has now launched a consultation on the issue of introducing new measures, we have are urging ministers to ensure they get changes right first time and put legislation in place that will not only reduce the risk of attacks but also ensure that responsible owners are not punished for the actions of others.

“Whilst recommendations such as compulsory micro-chipping have been put forward, we also hope that further steps are taken to ensure that victims of dog attacks are always able to gain justice and access to care they need to recover from the physical and psychological trauma of such attacks.

“In Paul Coleman’s case, the owner of the dogs was sent to prison but was not insured and didn’t have the means to meet any judgment. This meant he had to gain compensation via the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme – meaning the taxpayer paid the costs of the incident rather than the individual whose dog caused the injuries.

“Compulsory insurance and licensing of dogs would, in our view, play a particularly key role in this regard, as it would ensure that dog owners have means in place to ensure that the costs of a victim’s rehabilitation can be met in full.

“It is hugely important that this issue remains in the spotlight and we hope the consultation will soon lead to significant and comprehensive action to ensure postal workers and the general public are protected from any potential harm.”