New, so-called ‘Dog ASBOs’ have been introduced today in an effort to clamp down on out of control dogs. Police have now been given more powers to demand owners deal with their pets to prevent them from attacking others or risk being fined.
The clamp down comes as a result of increased concern over the threats posed by dog attacks. Eight adults and thirteen children have died from dog attacks since 2005 and in 2013, 6,740 people required hospital treatment after being attacked by a dog. In addition, approximately nine postmen a day are attacked by dogs.
The new rules come into force today, Monday 20th October, 2014, giving increased powers to local police forces and councils. If a complaint is received about a dog either to the council or to police, the owner can be required to attend dog training classes, muzzle the animal in public or ensure it is kept on a lead in public, as well as enforcing a dog be microchipped or neutered.
Should these conditions not be adhered to then the owner could face a £100 on-the-spot fine, or even face criminal prosecution and a £20,000 fine. As a last resort, the authorities will also be able to seize and impound the dog should the owner fail to take action.
Animal Welfare Minister, Lord de Mauley, said:
“Dog attacks are devastating for victims and their families which is why we are taking tough action against those who allow them to happen.
“Police and local authorities will now have more powers to demand that irresponsible dog owners take steps to prevent attacks before they occur.
“This is on top of the tougher prison sentences we introduced earlier this year for owners who allow their dogs to attack people and assistance dogs.”
The introduction of ‘Dog ASBOs’ is the latest measure introduced to crack down on reckless owners. Earlier this year, changes were also made to legislation to enable owners to be prosecuted for dog attacks on private property and maximum prison sentences were extended from two years to fourteen years, for fatal dog attacks.
Shaun Davis, of the Royal Mail, said:
“Royal Mail campaigned for changes to the Dangerous Dog Act to ensure our postmen and women are protected when they enter private property, including a customer’s garden.
“We are pleased that these further changes will help police forces and local authorities use their new legal powers to prevent dog attacks.”
If you face prosecution in relation to a dangerous dog offence, please contact us on 0161 834 1515.