|Dangerous Dog Owners - Penalties 'Still Not Tough Enough'|
MP says she will continue her campaign
Under new guidelines, issued this week, dog owners whose pets attack people will face tougher punishments and potentially longer jail terms - but the penalties don't go far enough says Ealing's local MP.
Sentencing Council guidelines which were announced in May have now come into force, and the offence will now have a starting point of six months in jail - and, where appropriate, judges can consider up to 18 months.
Official figures show that there has been a rise in the number of people sentenced for dangerous dog offences
Local MP Angie Bray has been campaigning since before the General Election in 2010 for tougher penalties for those who use their dog as a ‘weapon’ to intimidate or injure after she was alerted to the growing problem across Ealing and Acton.
Whilst welcoming the general thrust of the new advice, the Ealing Central and Acton Conservative MP feels longer sentences should be available for the very worst cases.
“These new guidelines are a welcome step forward, albeit long overdue. But I still feel we should go further given the savage nature of some of the cases we’ve all heard about in the news recently.
''In many of these cases, the owners are repeat offenders who consistently put the public at risk by allowing their dog(s) to be out of control around other people. The new guidelines should act as a good deterrent, but in the most serious cases a ‘weapon’ dog could kill someone. In an instance like this, I don’t think we should be putting a top limit on sentences. I will continue to apply pressure on this point and also campaign for tough sentences for owners whose dogs attack other dogs, as well as people.”
22nd August 2012