Orchard Vet's Blog

New sentences for dangerous dogs


Owners convicted of offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act will face harsher punishments under new sentencing guidelines that will come into force in July. The changes will also extend existing law to include attacks occuring on private property and introduce a new offence of attacks on assistance dogs (such as guide dogs for the blind).

The new sentencing guidelines will raise the maximum jail sentence for a fatal dog attack from 2 years to 14. These cover offences where a dog injures or kills a person, injures an assistance dog, is dangerously out of control (without causing injury), or where someone possesses a banned type:

  • Pit bull terrier

  • Japanese Tosa

  • Dogo Argentino

  • Fila Braziliero

District Judge Richard Williams, a member of the Sentencing Council, said that the new guidelines allow for a broad range of sentences to be given depending on the seriousness of each offence, with those already disqualified from owning a dog facing the toughest penalties. He said, 'we know that the majority of dog owners are responsible and ensure their pets do not put anyone in danger, but there are some irresponsible owners whose dogs do put people at risk of injury and in some cases even death'.

You can read the revised Sentencing Guidelines here, and the provisions of the Dangerous Dogs Act here.