England and Wales citizens who own dangerous dogs will now face tougher sentences, if their dog is out of control in public areas and become the reason for an accident while at the supervision of the owner, according to the new Sentencing Council guidelines.
The owners of breeds outlined by the Dangerous Dogs Act now need to be more careful than ever as the Sentencing Council is encouraging judges to undertake severe punishments in cases with dangerous dogs involved.
According to the police there was a huge increase in dog crimes – from about 193 cases in 2006 to 1,107 cases in 2010, so hopefully the new measures will handles this growing problem more efficiently.
According to the new guidelines, more dog owners will be jailed, and the judges are allowed to order more dogs to be put down if necessary. The good news is that the victims of such crimes will receive higher compensations.
These guidelines were announced earlier this year in May and according to them anyone who owns a dangerous dog and allows someone else to be injured might be jailed from six to eighteen months. In addition, the penalty for owning a banned dog is set to be up to 6 months` custody.
In some cases where a child has been hurt the sentences could rise to two years. If someone initiates a dog attack, this will be considered an assault.
A spokesman for the Sentencing Council said: “With increasing numbers of convictions for offences involving dangerous dogs in recent years, the new guidelines will help ensure the courts use their full powers when dealing with offenders. ”The Sentencing Council’s guideline aims to provide clear guidance to judges and magistrates to encourage consistency in sentencing and appropriate sentences for owners of dangerous dogs.”
Trevor Cooper, legal consultant for the Dogs Trust said: “These new guidelines will encourage courts to focus on the key factors of culpability of the owner and the amount of harm to the victim. This tougher approach should serve as a stiff reminder to dog owners to keep their pets under proper control and to behave responsibly.”