New Sentencing Council Guidelines On Dangerous Dogs Announced
Legal specialists who represent victims left with serious physical and psychological injuries as a result of dog attacks have welcomed Sentencing Council guidelines to impose harsher sentences on owners of dangerous animals.
Under new guidance for judges and magistrates which has come into effect from today (August 20th), offenders are expected to face more jail sentences, community orders and also get fewer discharges.
It has also been suggested that allowing a dangerous dog to injure a person could carry a minimum of six months of jail, although judges may also be able to consider up to 18 months. In addition, anyone found guilty of possession of a prohibited breed of dog could face up to six months in custody.
The measures have also been designed to ensure that victims who have suffered as a result of dog attacks are able to gain compensation for their experiences.
Legal experts at Irwin Mitchell specialise in helping people injured in dog attacks to gain answers and justice over the terrifying ordeals they have endured.
David Urpeth, an expert in animal bite claims and dog attacks, said: “Attacks by dangerous dogs can have a huge impact on those involved, often leaving them with serious physical injuries and psychological trauma that they never fully recover from.
“With the number of people being sentenced for such attacks on the rise, as well as the number of hospital admissions in relation to dog bites, it is clear that new measures are needed to address this issue and provide better protection to the general public.
“We are eagerly awaiting the results of the Government’s consultation into new measures such as compulsory microchipping for puppies – designed to help in the crackdown on dangerous dogs and the threats they pose to the public – and have long campaigned for ministers to consider the introduction of insurance and licensing that would ensure victims of attacks can get the help they need.
“Because of this, we are hopeful that these new sentencing guidelines will be just the first step in a series which will underline just how serious this issue is now being treated.”
David added: “It must not be forgotten that the huge majority of dog owners act responsibly, but we have seen too many occasions when a minority have failed to recognise the potential risks of dangerous dogs.
“We have waiting some time to see significant action taken on this issue and hope that this is just the beginning of ensuring that the number of attacks begin to fall significantly over the coming months and years.”