Tag Archives: Breed specific legislation

News from UK: Life sentences for dangerous dog owners considered

Police Professional.com; 06 Aug 2013

Dog-owners whose pets attack and kill people could face life sentences under new proposals announced in a consultation by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The suggested reforms to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 would see a dramatic extension of the maximum sentence for the owners of dogs who seriously injure or kill people or guide dogs, which currently stands at two years in prison and an unlimited fine. 

The changes would be added into the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which is currently being debated in Parliament.

The consultation, which runs until September 1, follows recent efforts to expand the remit of the Act to include dog attacks on all private property, rather than the current system where only incidents occurring in public or private land where the animals were prohibited.

While only 16 people have been killed in dog attacks since 2005, the number of guide dogs attacked has risen to a record high of ten a month and the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) claims 23,000 postal workers have been attacked in the past five years, 70 per cent of which were on private property and hence could not lead to prosecution.

The Government states in the consultation it believes life sentences for some of the more serious aggravated attacks would be “disproportionate”, with death caused by careless or dangerous driving punishable with maximum sentences of five and 14 years.

However, it claimed the consensus was current sentencing limits were too low and with offenders convicted of using a dog as a weapon to commit manslaughter or murder already able to receive life sentences, it is consulting the public to determine the correct level of deterrent.

Lord de Mauley, animal welfare minister, 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 are 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 is crucial that the laws we have in place act as a deterrent to stop such horrific incidents.”

Dave Joyce, national health and safety officer for the CWU, welcomed the proposals and said: “Current sentencing arrangements do not match the serious nature of offences. Only one person has ever been imprisoned for a dog attack on a postal worker when the postman was nearly killed but the sentence was just four and a half months. As the number of dog attacks and number of fatalities continues to grow, sentencing must get tougher to deal with irresponsible, negligent dog owners.”

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Owners’ bark behind their dogs’ bite

Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2013

The mauling death this week of a two-year-old boy has raised concerns about dog breeds. But the dogs aren’t the problem, writes Natasha Wallace.

Never mind the dogs. In 32 years as a ranger with Bathurst Council, Margaret Gaal has been abused, attacked, spat on and even had a loaded rifle shoved in her face.

When the Herald called Gaal this week, she described how hours earlier a man had stood menacingly in front of her vehicle, daring her to run him down while his mate made haste with his two American pit bulls, a restricted breed subject to stringent rules. READ MORE HERE

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Pet bans, jail time for irresponsible dog owners under new government crackdown

PETER MICKELBUROUGH; HERALD SUN JULY 08, 2013 12:00

EXCLUSIVE: OWNERS of dogs that attack people will be barred from keeping canines for up to a decade under tough new laws proposed by the Napthine Government.

And those caught breaching such a ban will face jail or a hefty fine.

“The community has told us loud and clear that dog attacks and irresponsible dog owners should not be tolerated,” Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said.

“Currently people found guilty of having animals that have attacked could continue to keep dogs.

“The proposed amendment will reflect the community’s expectation that there must be serious consequences and penalties for people who fail to control their animals.” READ MORE HERE

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Appeals on risky breeds begin to bite

The Age; Vince Chadwick, Deborah Gough; June 11 2013

Councils are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars defending appeals against Victoria’s controversial restricted-breed laws, which many dog experts say are ill-defined and poorly enforced.

Restricted dogs are those found to have the characteristics of one of five breeds under a state government standard. The dogs must be destroyed unless they were in the state before September 2010 and are registered.

In September 2011, the state government ended an amnesty for owners who declared their dogs, after four-year-old Ayen Chol was mauled to death in St Albans by a pit bull-mastiff cross that had escaped from a neighbour’s yard. READ MORE HERE

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World wide failure of Breed Specific Legislation

National Canine Research Council

In the last two decades of the 20th century, communities – even countries – began passing laws that regulated, or banned, dogs based upon their breed or appearance.

These laws break our bond with man’s best friend. Dogs are sometimes seized and killed for no other reason
than their appearance. Animal shelters destroy countless thousands or millions of dogs, rather than attempt to
place them in loving homes. Pet owners may face the grisly choice of submitting to expensive and onerous
requirements, giving up their homes and moving, or turning over a cherished family companion for destruction.

Some governments have stubbornly persisted with such laws, focusing on the dog and its breed, rather than
the dog and its relationship with human beings, despite the documented failure of breed specific legislation
(BSL) to produce the intended outcome, a reduction of dog bite incidents.

Download rest of paper here 

A HIGHER STANDARD FOR ALL
There is no scientific evidence that one kind of dog
is more likely to bite or injure a human being than
another kind of dog; xiii and in no event should dogs
be characterized apart from their relationships with
human beings. We call on all communities and
nations to recognize these fundamental truths; to
honor the special relationship between dogs and
human beings; to repeal cruel and ineffective breed
specific regulations; and to hold all owners to a high
standard of humane care, custody and control of all
dogs, regardless of breed or type.

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Vicious dog law move

Mercury, Tasmania, MATT SMITH   |   April 22, 2013

DOG owners have been put on notice with the State Government warning tough new laws on dangerous dogs are on the cards.

The call comes as the first new amendment to the Criminal Code, that makes a person who does not take appropriate precautions to control a dog liable for up to 21 years in prison, heads to the Upper House.

The new amendment places a dog in the same category as anything that could put a life in danger including weapons.

Attorney-General Brian Wightman said the amendment contained within the Crimes (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill included extending the definition of anything that could endanger human life to animals. READ MORE HERE

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Court blow to push on dangerous dog breeds

The Age, Cameron Houston, Jan 27, 2013

THE Supreme Court has dealt the Baillieu government’s campaign to rid the state of dangerous dogs a major blow by granting a reprieve to two dogs deemed American pit bull terriers by Darebin and Monash councils.

The court overturned a decision by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which, agreeing with the councils, had ruled the dogs complied with the legal definition of a restricted breed and should be put down.

The Supreme Court ordered the two councils to pay more than $200,000 in legal fees and pound costs, a move expected to deter other legal challenges by local governments. READ MORE HERE

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