We have welcomed government moves to introduce tougher sentences for those who allow their dogs to attack other people and animals.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill received royal assent in Parliament on Thursday, 13 March and will come into force this May.

We believe the extension of current dog control laws onto private property, as well as public places, gives more power to tackle irresponsible dog owners.

More should be done to prevent dog attacks

But David Bowles, the RSPCA’s head of public affairs, today insisted that more needed to be done to prevent dog attacks on people and other animals in the first place. He said:

“Tougher sentences may well act as a deterrent, but reactive legislation on its own will not reduce dog bites and attacks. The new law lacks any measures to prevent dog attacks or intervene with owners at an early stage.

“We are yet to be convinced about the effectiveness of the new legislation, which places increased responsibility on dog wardens at a time when funding for these services is being slashed by cash-strapped local authorities.  We also feel that the guidance given to enforcers is unclear and will not help them exercise their new powers.

“We are pleased to see that the government has committed to reviewing the impact of the new legislation in three years time and hope that this will lead to an improvement in dog control and reduction in dog bites, but remain to be convinced.”

If you’re concerned about a dogs behaviour, take a look at our advice on dog aggression.