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Should Dog Attacks Result in Tougher Sentencing?

The number of annual dog attacks in the UK is on the rise. In recent figures released by the North Wales Police it was revealed that there were 56 dog attacks last year in North Wales alone.

This figure includes 16 attacks which involved small children.

Though these figures are very worrying, what’s more concerning is the difficulty the police face in catching and disciplining the dogs and owners.

Of these 56 attacks, 15 resulted in the dog which carried out the attack being lost. This means that it’s perfectly feasible that the same dog carried out a number of these attacks. Another obstacle which stops the police from dealing with these attacks properly is the legislation which stops them investigating dog attacks which take place on private property.

Though it is illegal to breed or exchange a number of vicious dog breeds in the UK, the number of attacks continues to rise. There are also an increasing number of attacks on guide dogs in the UK with eight attacks currently occurring every week in England and Wales. Clearly, something needs to be done.

Mr Pritchard, the ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) lead on dangerous dogs for England and Wales said in a recent interview that he would strongly support measures designed to prevent these attacks such as dog control orders. The chief executive of the RSPCA, Gavin Grant, also recently commented that ‘we need strong deterrents to stop owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control and for those people who abuse animals. Tougher sentences will help with the former and need to be applied to the latter. We need dog owners to be accountable, the law to be enforced and the courts to take dog abuse, abandonment and attacks seriously.’ He ended by saying ‘The current Dangerous Dogs Act does not work’. He urged everyone who feels strongly about this to make their opinions known in the current public consultation which is being carried out by the government.

If someone if attacked by a dog and it can be shown that the attack was caused, at least partly, by the negligence of the dog’s owner, the victim of the attack is perfectly within their rights to make a dog attack compensation claim.