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Jail for dog owners who’s pets kill or maim

By Chris Dawson August 6, 2013 - 10:32 am

Dog AwarenessOwners of dogs that attack and kill someone could face life in prison under new proposals for England and Wales. Sixteen people have been killed by dogs in the UK since 2005.

The proposals also aim to increase penalties for owners of dogs injure someone or kills a guide dog. New jail terms ranging from three years to a maximum of ten are on the table.

There’s one group of people who are looking at the proposals with a great deal of interest and that’s the country’s posties. Since April 2011, there have been over 5,500 dog attacks on Royal Mail postmen and women, some leading to a permanent disabling injury. Attacks have resulted in the loss of 4,100 working days due to injuries.

Royal Mail recently held the UK’s first Dog Awareness Week, working alongside the Communication Workers Union (CWU) with support from a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Dogs Trust, DEFRA and Blue Cross to raise awareness of dog attacks on Royal Mail’s postmen and women and appeal to dog owners to work with them to help keep animals under control when the postman calls.

Currently, legal protection against attacks by dogs does not extend ‘beyond the garden gate’, this is a particular problem for postmen and women, who each visit hundreds of private addresses every day on their delivery rounds, so it’s no surprise that Royal Mail are welcoming the Government’s commitment to amend the previous legislation to ensure our posties will be protected when they enter private property including a customer’s garden.

We know there are millions of responsible dog owners in the country, it’s just a shame a few can’t control their pets and let them run amok.

  • Caitlin
    4 years ago

    I think this is a good decision, as I’ve always felt the dogs get too much stick over attacks. In my eyes, it’s about how the dog is brought up. Growing up, we’ve had two different breeds of dog and both have been brought up with love, care and trained properly. When we scold our dog, we don’t hit her. We simply tell her in a firm voice “bad dog” and she sulks in a corner (usually near me because I’m the person in the family she listens to).

    I’ve seen various strangers treat dogs differently though, notably Staffordshire Bull Terriers which are stereotypically a chav’s dog where I live because of their reputation. If people learned to treat animals right instead of being violent which in turn makes the dogs temperament become more vicious, there wouldn’t be so many horrible stories of dog attacks.

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      yep a rampant pit bull terrier will always listen to polite requests, and is instantly controlable if threatened with the naughty step

    • 4 years ago

      I agree its a good decision.

      I really don’t get why people would keep violent dogs as family pets. And why they just let them run around and attack people? Put them on a lead and train them!

      Last time a staff bull terrier ran into the pet store and nearly bit my dog’s ear off (no compensation at all, we coughed up all the vet fee). Since then I won’t let my dog walk near this breed…

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      dog raceisim,! a yorkshire terrier is just as likely to savage you as a staffie, its the owners that should be held responsible not the dog so this is a grand idea, we have had many bull mastiffs in the past ,other dog owners dont seem to be able to grasp if you let your dog sniff a bull mastiffs arse it likely to be bit

    • Jimbo
      4 years ago

      Worth looking at what the intention behind the bull mastiff as a breed was. Should your average punter living in a town or city be allowed to own one? Is it an appropriate breed for a family pet?

      If a dog is incapable of having it’s arse sniffed in a public park or space without biting they should be banned from those places.

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      uninformed ignorance is more dangerous than any dog

  • 4 years ago

    Down here while we get problems with dogs we get a lot more problems with such as Sea Gulls. Just recently in the National Press was an item about the Post Office refusing to deliver the mail to a road in Perranporth because Gulls kept attacking the Posties.

    No amount of talking nice to Gulls will ever work.

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      ebay buyers must have gull DNA

    • 4 years ago

      Gulls behaviour seems to be mainly blamed on 2 characteristics.
      a) They are protecting their nests because they have young in the nests. Certainly that was what the problems seems to be in regard to the road in Perranporth.
      b) Greed. They will sweep down and sieze your pasty or chips.

      I have never had problems with ebay buyers protecting their young. But Greed now that may be another matter. Although I have only had problems with one or two customers out of all those I have had over the years. In their cases I would say that one was almost certainly because he was a crook.

      So I am, not convinced that the DNA is similar. Although sometimes the noise from Gulls reminds me of the noise from a disgruntled customer – Very Loud and totally mindless.

  • Cambridge_Blue
    4 years ago

    This increasingly looks like an exercise in prevarication by the ConDem alliance.
    It is a disgrace that simple legislation was not enacted years ago and the length of sentencing is really a secondary issue.
    What matters is getting private land included and a duty of care & criminal liability placed on owners of animals that represent a significant danger to the public or people going about their legitimate business (e.g. postal workers).

    • 4 years ago

      It is a disgrace that suitable legislation was not enacted years ago. But it is a lot more complicated than Cambridge_Blue suggests.

      In regard to Private Land it is certainly important that Posties and others entering Private Land are protected. But how do you word it so that the thug, vandal and thief breaking into Private Land is not protected while the Postie and the nine year old looking for their ball is?

      At the end of the day just about every dog is potentially dangerous in the right circumstances. Posties will tell you that while the larger breeds of dog can do the most harm even a small dog can bite and cause injuries.

      A neighbour has two small dogs that regularly bark and growl at me. I doubt if they could do a lot of damage but I still give them a wide berth.

      Hopefully the Government will eventually come up with legislation that will be ideal. But my guess is that there will be a lot of compromise in it and it ends up not suiting every bodies needs and requirements. But if it ensured that the thug with an out of control fighting dog who lets in run free in the Park where it attacks and possibly kills a small harmless dog or Guide Dog or even worse a small child becomes a thing of the past.

    • northumbrian
      4 years ago

      not to worry the world is saved plastic carrier bags are being phased out

    • 4 years ago

      I can remember when a carrier bag WAS a carrier bag and didn’t fall apart almost before you got your shopping into the car. These days as soon as you put a bottle of wine in they ask if you’d like to double bag because they’re so flimsy.

      These days about the only second use they’re good for is for bin liners and dog poo bags – if they phase them out the streets will be littered with dog poo.

      Shop online, if you don’t go to the high street or supermarket you don’t have to worry about bags :-)

    • Cambridge_BLue
      4 years ago

      It is not complicated at all actually!
      Sometimes it is better to do something practical in a timely manner to deal with a serious problem or injustice than do nothing at all.
      Most of the issues you describe are easily dealt with via filtering by the police, owners themselves and the CPS in the first instance.
      Should criminal action proceed then the final judgement will rest with magistrates and juries as it should and I am sure then can distinguish between a postie and a burglar.

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