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Prevent dangerous dog attacks say vets

British Veterinary Association | British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

Preventive action to deal with the problem of out of control dogs, according to the British Veterinary Association (BVA).

Vets, animal charities and police have all called for dog control notices to be served on dog owners at the earliest sign of a problem.

Today the Government announced a consultation on plans for harsher sentences for owners when their dogs attack and cause serious or fatal injuries.

At present the most severe sanction is two years in prison.

“We understand that penalties need to work as an effective deterrent but the key to reducing incidents involving dogs must be to prevent them happening in the first place," said BVAPresident Peter Jones.

“Of course education plays a very important role in helping people understand dog behaviour and the requirements for keeping a dog under control at all times, but we also need strong legislation.

“We have been campaigning vigorously for the introduction of dog control notices that allow trained enforcers to take action at the earliest opportunity and prevent these terrible incidents that the Dangerous Dogs Act has failed to reduce. Prevention is always better than punishment.”

The BVAand campaigners supported an amendment to introduce dog control notices to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill in July but it was defeated by one vote at committee stage. It is hoped that the amendment will be reintroduced as the Bill passes through the legislative process.

In February the Government announced that it would introduce new measures to tackle out of control dogs by changing the law to ensure that irresponsible owners can be prosecuted regardless of where their dog attacks.

Announcing the consultation on harsher penalties for owners of dangerous dogs, animal welfare minister Lord de Mauley said:

"Dog attacks are terrifying and we need harsh penalties to punish those who allow their dog to injure people while out of control.

"We’re already toughening up laws to ensure that anyone who owns a dangerous dog can be brought to justice, regardless of where a dog attack takes place. It’s crucial that the laws we have in place act as a deterrent to stop such horrific incidents."

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