The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) commenced a consultation process on the 6th of August which is set to run until the 1st of September 2013. A short public survey has been released with a view to gathering public opinion regarding amendments to the maximum sentence for an aggravated offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Parliament is currently residing over amendments as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. The purpose of all this is to promote responsible dog ownership.
This is of significant importance to all dog owners as the amendments to the act may impact upon private properties where dogs attack intruders in the home. Sentencing for an aggravated dog attack currently stands at a maximum of 2 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both. It is proposed to increase the maximum penalty to life imprisonment. This is not set in stone and the Government has indicated that is considers life imprisonment to be a severe sanction.
As a responsible dog owner I hold the view that all fellow dog owners should complete this survey and assist the Government in reaching an informed decision on how the general public feels about an increase to the maximum sentence. I do not believe that responsible dog owners will have anything to fear regarding an increase. However, I do believe that appropriate sentences should be available to the courts to use against those that misuse dogs, regardless of breed, to cause real serious harm to others.
The survey comprises of 8 tick box questions and one box for comment, it can be found at the link below.