Owners of killer dogs in the UK would face harsher punishment for training them to be more aggressive, according to a new law in England and Wales. The new guidelines, which are expected to come into effect from July, reflect the changes introduced to the law in 2014.
According to the Sentencing Council, the punishments are “likely to be higher than in the past” and should be “proportionate.”
A member of the council said some irresponsible dog owners put other people at risks of injury and even death. In 2014, the changes to the law increased the jail term for death due to dog attack from two years to 14 years.
District Judge Richard Williams, a member of the Sentencing Council, said that the new guidelines will allow for a broad range of punishments depending on the degree of seriousness of the offences.
“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,” the BBC quoted him as saying.
Under the new guidelines, the owner or the person in charge of a dangerously out-of-control dog can face a jail term from 6 to 14 years if the victim dies and the owner is found culpable. The factors that would be taken into consideration while deciding the sentence will include, whether the dog has been used as a weapon, if it’s a banned species or has been trained to be aggressive, the Telegraph reported.
According to figures released last year, the number of people who had to be hospitalised after a dog attack rose to 76 percent in the past decade.
“Sadly, every year we hear of more than 100 guide dogs being attacked by other dogs,” said James White, of the charity Guide Dogs.