Biting Back - Changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) have welcomed long needed amendments to the Dangerous Dogs act
, which was introduced into law two decades ago. The original legislation is seen as rushed, and the CWU maintain it was introduced as a 'knee-jerk reaction' to a number of serious dog attacks
on children at the time.
The CWU worked together with numerous individuals and organisations, to bring considered reform to the Dangerous Dogs Act. The campaign has run for 7 years, during which, 30,000 postal and telecommunication workers have been attacked
and injured by dogs. Two of these attacks were near fatal. The campaign garnered support from:
- Animal welfare charities
- Dog trainers and wardens
- Other trade unions
It may be a joke ingrained in our culture of the dog chasing and biting the postman, but too often, the reality of these dog bites is far more serious. We often write about incidents which have left Royal Mail staff scarred for life
, and essentially scared of dogs.
This isn't to say that all dogs are dangerous, however, the campaign encourages responsible dog ownership.
Under the new law, owners whose dogs attack a person could face five years in jail
- up from the previous maximum of two. If someone's dog was to kill another person, the owner will now face up to 14 years in prison
, realistically reflecting the seriousness of such an offence, and the ability of a dog owner to control their dog.
Because so many dog attacks occur on the private property of the dog owner, those with aggressive and dangerous dogs have often enjoyed immunity from prosecution, because of a loophole in the law
Now the CWU campaign intends to shift towards enforcing the new law and increasing public awareness. While the changes in the law focus on criminal prosecution, they place greater responsibility on dog owners
to ensure their dog doesn't harm other people.