Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has welcomed changes to the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, introduced today.
The new changes will see tougher sentences for irresponsible dog owners, and an extension of existing legislation to include attacks by dangerous dogs within the home. The maximum sentence for the owner of a dog that kills someone will now be raised from 2 to 14 years.
Today’s changes have been introduced following a spate of attacks by dangerous dogs throughout the region in the last 12 to 18 months. One victim, Jade Lomas Anderson, was killed in Wigan after being mauled by a pack of dogs. Her death, and a number of other incidents since, sparked a national debate on the inadequacy of existing legislation to protect individuals from dog attacks resulting in today’s changes.
Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commmissioner Tony Lloyd welcomed the developments, but stressed that more still has to be done. He said:
“Although no sentence, regardless of its severity, will undo what has been done and bring back a loved one, today’s changes in legislation will help make out a difference and sends out a strong signal. The vast majority of dog owners are, of course, responsible, but we do need measures in place for those who are unwilling or unable to be good pet owners.
“The raising of the minimum sentence from 2 to 14 years is a start. This is something I have campaigned for since the tragedy of Jade’s death. While the majority of dog owners are responsible, those that aren’t should be punished accordingly and will now suffer much harsher consequences.
“The legislation still needs to go further. Police and local authorities need to be given much stronger powers to hold irresponsible dog owners to account, intervene as early as possible, and punish them appropriately.
“As i’ve said before, I want to see much stronger Dog Control Orders introduced. Preventative measures are key to ensure irresponsible owners are tackled before a tragedy.” Tony Lloyd