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Dangerous Dog law heading in right direction

16 December 2011    11:28
 

The Kennel Club has welcomed proposals for new draft guidelines on dangerous dog offences but remains concerned that dangerous dog legislation still urgently needs reform to include genuinely preventative measures.   

The Sentencing Council has launched a consultation to obtain the views of the public on the new draft guidelines, which aim to ensure that there is effective guidance for the courts when sentencing owners, or those in control of a dog, who commit a dangerous dog offence.
 
The draft guidelines aim to ensure that the penalties for owning a banned breed will now be applied to owners of dangerous dogs of any kind, making it easier for offenders to be banned from keeping dogs, for genuinely dangerous dogs to be put down, and for compensation to be paid to victims of dog attacks. These proposals will apply in any public place and will mean that owners of dangerous dogs could potentially face up to two years in prison under new guidelines for the sentencing judges.
 
The Kennel Club believes that this is a step in the right direction in reforming current flawed dangerous dog legislation but is concerned that these measures alone will not fully protect the public from dangerous dog attacks as it is reactive rather than preventative.

A word from the Kennel Club

Caroline Kisko, Communications Director for the Kennel Club, said: "The Sentencing Council's draft proposals are a step in the right direction but ultimately do not go far enough as legislation needs genuinely preventative measures in place.
 
"It is all well and good having tougher penalties and better guidelines for judges, but what is really needed are ways of reducing dog bite incidents in the first place. The Kennel Club believes this must be done through education, more resources and power to the police and local authorities to deal with irresponsible dog owners and the use of Dog Control Notices to encourage responsible dog ownership.
 
"There are currently huge amounts of funding and resources being wasted implementing breed specific legislation to seize and kennel dogs that are suspected of being a banned breed or type, regardless of whether or not they show any signs of being aggressive. All this time and money would be better spent dealing with genuine problem dogs, and indeed the irresponsible owners of dogs of any type, in order to reduce the number of cases having to go before a judge in the first place."
 
The launch of the Sentencing Council's proposals comes as the Kennel Club joined with over twenty leading animal welfare and veterinary organisations, trade unions and MPs yesterday to appeal for urgent government action on the issue of irresponsible dog ownership and dog law reform, demanding the Government brings forward a Bill in the Queen's Speech next year that consolidates and updates dog control legislation.

Get involved

To sign the petition calling on the Government to bring forward the relevant Bill in the Queen's Speech next year, please visit:

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22631
 
For more information on the Sentencing Council's consultation on new sentencing proposals for dangerous dog offences, please visit
http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/sentencing/consultations-current.htm

ENDS


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