Introduction of Dogbos
New powers have been given to the police to tackle out of control dogs, as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
A Community Protection Notice (or ‘dogbo’), can now be issued to irresponsible dog owners by the police, council officials or social housing landlords. As part of the ‘dogbo’, owners may be forced to attend behavioural classes with their pets. Also, animals could be muzzled and ordered to be kept on a lead, or neutered and microchipped.
If a complaint is made against a specific dog and owner, orders can be issued to owners of dogs who cause damage to property, behave aggressively towards a person or other animal, or are out of control in a public area. Failure to comply with the restrictions placed upon the animal may result in on-the-spot fines of £100 or criminal prosecution, which can now lead to fines of up to £20,000.
The postal workers union, The CWU, has welcomed the new rules, and believe that the law will prevent thousands of dog attacks on postal workers each year.
The Kennel Club has also welcomed the extension of powers, but expresses concern that some responsible dog owners may become vulnerable to over-zealous local authorities, in relation to the law concerning dogs being out of control in public spaces.
This introduction of new powers comes after amendments made to the Dangerous Dogs Act earlier this year which extended the law to enable prosecution if dog attacks took place on private property, and increased the maximum prison sentence from 2 years to 14. Both changes aim to curb irresponsible dog ownership, with ‘dogbos’ in particular focusing on the prevention of dog attacks by reducing early aggressive behaviour. Preventative measures are crucial in preventing injuries and fatalities from aggressive, out of control dogs, as dog attacks in the UK are increasing. 6,740 people received hospital treatment for dog injuries in 2013, which was 6% higher than the previous year. 8 adults and 13 children have died from dog attacks since 2005.