Amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act in England and Wales, the first significant changes in 23 years, will see tougher dog control laws introduced in early May.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) – which represents over 200,000 postal and telecommunication workers – welcomed the news saying it will bring ‘significant improvement’ to the lives of thousands of workers. The union has led the call for law changes with its high profile ‘Bite Back’ campaign, supported by all animal welfare charities, the police, vets, dog wardens and dog trainers.
Over 26,000 postal workers have been attacked and injured by dogs in the last six years. Two postmen were nearly killed in savage attacks in 2007 and 2008. Many others have lost fingers and parts of limbs.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill, which includes amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act, will now allow the prosecution of owners for dog attacks on private property. It’ll mean that irresponsible dog owners will now not only face longer prison sentences for the actions of their animal, they’ll also be liable for prosecution regardless of where an attack takes place, even on their own property. This means that postal workers, telecom workers, health professionals and children will all be protected. New preventative powers for police and local authorities will also ensure that they can act early, to help stop dog attacks before they happen.
Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole said: “I am so pleased that the dangerous dogs laws are to be changed in May. These changes will help to keep thousands of CWU members, and in particular postal workers, safe. This will also help to hold irresponsible dog owners to account.”
“On top of these changes, we must continue to work for more education and training for dog owners to ensure owners are keeping dogs in a safe and responsible manner.”
The implementation date will be announced shortly and is expected to be introduced this May.