Saturday October 21st 2017

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A Step In The Right Direction For Dog Law Reform Say Kennel Club

The Kennel Club has welcomed new guidelines which come into effect today on sentencing for dangerous dog offences but remains concerned that recent government proposals to update flawed dangerous dog legislation fail to include genuinely preventative measures.

The Sentencing Council’s new guidelines will help to ensure that courts use their full power when dealing with irresponsible owners who allow their dog to be dangerously out of control, as well as extending the guidelines to include injuries to other animals in terms of the offence of allowing a dog to be out of control.

The guidelines will further 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 bites.  Furthermore this will mean more offenders will face jail sentences and community orders.

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 incidents involving dangerous dogs as they are reactive rather than preventative.

Caroline Kisko, Communications Director for the Kennel Club, said: “These guidelines go a long way in sending out the message that irresponsible ownership will not be tolerated and will help the courts hold bad owners to account. However, the Kennel Club still has concerns that these measures do not address the real issue, which is the urgent need for genuinely preventative measures.

“We welcome the fact that sentencing in this area will now be more consistent, 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 the first signs of irresponsible dog owners, and the use of Dog Control Notices to encourage responsible dog ownership to avoid bad behaviour escalating and cases having to go in front of a judge.”

The issue of dog fighting has also been addressed in the new guidelines, and training a dog to fight or being in possession of dog fighting paraphernalia will increase the seriousness of committing the offence of owning a banned dog, which will further serve to bring irresponsible owners of any dog to account.

For more information on the Sentencing Council’s guidelines for dangerous dog offences, please visit http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/guidelines/forthcoming-guidelines.htm.

To find out more about the Kennel Club’s Dangerous Dogs campaign, or to get involved, please visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/dangerousdogs.

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