Today, 17 March 2015, the Sentencing Council has published proposals for how courts should sentence people convicted of dangerous dog offences. The proposals follow changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, which came into force last year. These made very substantial increases to the maximum sentences for these offences, extended the law to cover offences on private property and introduced a new offence to cover attacks on assistance dogs.
New sentencing guidelines are therefore being produced to reflect the changes to legislation and to provide updated guidance for judges and magistrates to use in sentencing these cases, which can include those of the utmost seriousness involving a fatality.
The Council is seeking the views of probation officers as well as anyone else with an interest in the sentencing of dangerous dog offences. It is particularly interested in views about how to assess the seriousness of offences, which factors should influence a sentence, the structure of the guidelines and the sentence ranges and levels.
The consultation closes on 9 June 2015. It is open to everyone, both criminal justice professionals and members of the public.
People can respond by visiting www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk responding either to the full consultation, or by filling out a simpler online questionnaire.
Email responses can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: Office of the Sentencing Council, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL.