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Planning Law Solicitors

Dangerous Dogs Sentencing Guidelines Published

May 15th, 2012 by Louise Humphreys

Posted In: Environmental Health

Following a 12 week consultation the Sentencing Council is publishing its new definitive guideline on dangerous dog offences.

This guideline applies to all offenders aged 18 and over. It applies to all cases that are dealt with on or after 20 August 2012, regardless of when the offence was committed.

It aims to provide clear guidance to sentencers so there is a consistent approach to sentencing and appropriate sentences are given to the owners of dangerous dogs.

The sentencing ranges mark an increase in sentencing levels from current practice. The top of the sentencing range for owners allowing their dog to be dangerously out of control injuring someone has been set at 18 months custody. Whilst the top of the sentencing range for possession of a prohibited dog has been set at the legal maximum of six months custody.

The new guideline will mean more offenders face jail sentences, more will get community orders and fewer will receive discharges.

The guideline should also help courts make the best use of their powers so that irresponsible owners who put the public at risk can be banned from keeping dogs, genuinely dangerous dogs can be put down and compensation can be paid to victims.

A copy of the definitive guideline can be downloaded here.

A copy of the updated Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines can be downloaded here.