Public consulted over tougher sentences for dog attacks in Barking and Dagenham

Owners of killer dogs could face life imprisonment following a public consultation

Owners of killer dogs could face life imprisonment following a public consultation - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Dog owners whose pets kill people could face life imprisonment if a government consultation finds public support in favour.

Dylan Pope, 12, (here with mum Sophie) was biten by a dog while playing on a trampoline.

Dylan Pope, 12, (here with mum Sophie) was biten by a dog while playing on a trampoline. - Credit: Archant

Owners of killer dogs currently face a maximum jail term of two years, an unlimited fine, or both, but this could jump up to as much as life in jail if support for stricter sentences is shown.

Barking and Dagenham has seen a string of dog attacks on people this year, with more than 24 incidents reported including that of Dylan Pope, 12, whose back and arm were bitten in an attack by a Bull Mastiff in January.

The public consultation, which opened yesterday, wants to determine the maximum penalty for cases where dogs have seriously injured or killed humans and was launched by animal welfare minister Lord de Mauley.

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


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“It’s crucial that the laws we have in place act as a deterrent to stop such horrific incidents.”

Public response will be one of the factors in shaping changes that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) plans to make to the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act.

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Some 16 people have been killed by dangerous dogs nationwide since 2005.

Visit gov.uk/government/consultations/dangerous-dogs-maximum-prison-sentences-for-dog-attacks to take part in the online questionnaire, which closes on September 1.

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