Police and local authorities now have powers to demand that dog owners take action to prevent a dog attack or risk fine of up to £20,000.
Under the new rules which entered into force on 20th October 2014, if a complaint is made about a dog to the council or police, its owners could be ordered to do any or all of the following: Attend dog training classes; muzzle the dog or require it to be on a lead in public; require the dog to be microchipped and/or neutered; and repair fencing to prevent the dog leaving the property.
Animal Welfare Minister Lord de Mauley said: “Dog attacks are devastating for victims and their families which is why we are taking tough action against those who allow them to happen. Police and local authorities will now have more powers to demand that irresponsible dog owners take steps to prevent attacks before they occur. This is on top of the tougher prison sentences we introduced earlier this year for owners who allow their dogs to attack people and assistance dogs.”
Earlier this year changes were made to the Dangerous Dogs Act substantially increasing the maximum sentences for allowing a dog to attack someone.
The maximum prison sentences in England and Wales are now up to 14 years for a fatal dog attack; up to five years for injury; and up to three years if an assistance dog is attacked.