Tougher sentencing powers that could see dog owners jailed for up to 14 years has been introduced today, following the death of Jade -Lomas-Anderson from Wigan last year.
New powers introduced to the Dangerous Dogs Act will increase the maximum sentence for the owner of a dog who kills somebody from two years to 14 years.
If a person is injured from a dog attack the owner faces up to five years imprisonment.
Additionally, for the first time dog owners will no longer be immune from prosecution if their dog attacks somebody in the home.
The changes have been introduced just over a year since the tragic death of Jade Lomas Anderson, of Atherton, Wigan, who died last March in a dog attack aged 14.
Jade was alone in the house of Beverley Concannon when the dogs launched a vicious attack.
Concannon, 45, received a suspended sentence in October after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.
Police and prosecutors said there was no stronger charge they could bring under current laws, calling for a reform in legislation.
Greater Manchester Police has welcomed today’s changes.
Superintendent Mark Kenny from GMP said: “Sadly we have all seen the devastation caused by a dog attack and welcome the changes in legislation that will help police, local authorities and partner agencies improve public safety and responsible dog ownership.
“While the introduction of new powers can’t bring anybody back or take away injuries sustained we hope that today’s news brings some small comfort to those families that have had to deal with the heat-breaking consequences of a dog attack.
“We appreciate that the large majority of dog owners are responsible and look after their animals very well but for those that don’t, I hope the new powers and penalties will urge you to think very seriously about training and controlling your dogs.”
The changes will also offer protection to people who visit homes offering essential services, including health visitors, postal staff and utility workers.
However no changes have been made to protect trespassers.
Attacks on assistance dogs have also been recognised in the new legislation which will carry a maximum sentence of three years.
Ben Dolan, Strategic Director for Environment and Community Safety at Salford City Council, said: “These new laws are another weapon in the fight against irresponsible dog owners.
“We would also urge dog owners to be responsible, to get their pets micro chipped, and keep details up-to-date and not to allow them to roam the street.”
Image courtesy of DeeBo, with thanks.