Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has welcomed proposals to strengthen sentencing powers against dog owners who allow their pets to kill.
Under current laws, the maximum sentence for an owner whose dog has killed someone is two years – and only if the attack happened in a public place.
The government is now consulting on plans to increase the sentence, with the possibility of a life sentence in the most extreme cases.
But Tony also expressed concerns that the plan to introduce better powers to force owners to control their dogs before they attack have been jettisoned.
Tony said: “It’s up to the courts to assign the appropriate sentence for dog attacks but their hands are tied by current legislation and quite frankly, while no amount of sentence will bring back a loved one, the current maximum sentence is not a deterrent and is nowhere near enough to see justice done. There are some dog owners who use their animals as weapons to maim and, in extreme cases, kill and it’s these people who should face the full force of the law and suffer much harsher consequences for their blatant disregard for public safety.
“However, prevention is better than cure and the Government needs to introduce much stronger preventative measures so we can stop families facing the same heartache suffered by Jade Anderson’s family following her tragic death four months ago.
“Dog Control Orders are one of the ways we can prevent such tragedies but they don’t go far enough. This is why I, along with local MP Julia Hilling and Jade’s family, have been calling for much stronger Dog Control Notices to be introduced, which would include more measures such as microchipping, muzzling and keeping dogs on a lead. Disappointingly, these measures have been taken out of the draft Anti-social Behaviour and Policing Bill. But it’s not too late for MPs to do the right thing and I hope, when the Bill comes back for further debate in parliament, they will see that these changes need to happen and Dog Control Notices will be supported.
“The Government needs to get a grip on this issue and give the police and local councils the power to protect our communities and our children from dangerous dogs and hold their irresponsible owners to account.”