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Dangerous dog owners face custodial sentences

23 August 2012

This week the League Against Cruel Sports welcomed the introduction of new guidelines from the Sentencing Council, allowing tougher sentencing for dangerous dog offences in England and Wales.

Under the guidelines, owners, or anyone in charge of a dangerously out of control dog, could face up to 18 months in prison, with the sentence rising to the legal maximum of two years in exceptional cases, as the Government seeks to clamp down on irresponsible animal owners.

"With increasing numbers of convictions for offences involving dangerous dogs in recent years, the new guideline will help ensure courts use their full powers when dealing with offenders," a Sentencing Council spokesman said.

Contributing to the development of the guidelines on aggravating and mitigation factors, the League is particularly pleased to see the new guidelines take into account the severity of offences involving evidence of dogs being trained for fighting or of the owner being caught in possession of dog fighting paraphernalia.

Any deliberate goading of the dog by its owner under the new guidelines will also be seen as an aggravating factor by judges.

Chief Executive of the League, Joe Duckworth comments: “This is a hugely positive step forward in helping to tackle the problem of dog fighting. In addition to providing courts with the power to apply tougher and more rigorous sentences to individuals involved in the barbaric blood sport, the new guidelines include a multitude of sensible provisions and we are delighted to have been involved in the consultation process.”