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Lawyers Welcome Calls From MPs For Tougher Dog Control Laws

Government Urged To Extend The Law To Criminalise Attacks On Private Property


By Suzanne Rutter

Expert lawyers have welcomed urgent calls from MPs to make it a criminal offence in England and Wales for a dog to be dangerously out of control on private property.

MPs have raised the issue of dangerous dogs in the House of Commons and have warned that the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl Jade Anderson near Wigan in March could be repeated elsewhere in the UK if tougher measures to curb dangerous dog attacks are not introduced.

More than 210,000 people are attacked by dogs in England every year and campaigners and expert personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say legislation dating back to 1991 has been ineffective in dealing with aggressive animals.

Alicia Townsend, an expert in dangerous dog attacks at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “With the number of hospital admissions in relation to dog bites on the rise, it is clear that new measures are needed to address this issue and provide better protection to the general public.

“At Irwin Mitchell we see the devastating consequences dog bites can have on people’s lives and we echo calls from MPs for the Government to change the law to cover prosecutions for attacks on private property.

“Jade Anderson died following a dog attack and as a result of the fact it occurred on private property, no prosecution can be brought against the dog owners.  This must be devastating for Jade’s family that there is no justice for what they have encountered.

“Where other victims have sustained serious injuries on private property, they are currently prevented from getting access to the specialist care and rehabilitation they may need.

“Dog attack victims could be protected further if dog notices and licensing for dog breeders was introduced plus compulsory insurance for dog owners.”

North West Labour MP Julie Hilling paid tribute to Jade in the Commons and said her case was not the first death due to a dog attack and ‘if the Government don’t take action it will definitely not be the last.’

Figures show there are about 210,000 dog attacks a year with 6,000 people treated at hospital for their injuries. The NHS spends about £3 million treating dog attack victims and it costs local authorities £57 million to put dogs under investigation into kennels.

For more information about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to Dog Bite Claims.