DEFRA Announces DDA Changes

Legal powers for the police to tackle irresponsible dog owners and improve public safety are among legislative changes being published in the draft Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Bill today, DEFRA’s statement below:

The Government announced in February that it will extend the dangerous dogs legislation to make it an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in any place, including all private property.

Under Government plans, dog owners will no longer be immune from prosecution if their dog attacks a person in the home. This change in the law will give protection to the healthcare, postal and utility professionals who visit private properties for work.

The legislative changes being introduced today will extend the law to include all private property. It will mean that owners can be prosecuted if they fail to stop their dogs attacking someone on their own or someone else’s private property. If convicted, they could face an unlimited fine and/or up to two years in jail. However there will be no protection for trespassers such as burglars who are attacked by a householder’s dog.

Animal Welfare Minister Lord de Mauley said:

“Out of control dogs are just as much a threat on private property as in public places. We are extending the law so that owners who allow their dogs to be dangerously out of control anywhere can be brought to justice.”

Attacks on guide dogs and other assistance dogs will also be explicitly covered by dangerous dogs legislation for the first time, Lord De Mauley confirmed today.

Under the plans, the owner, or person in charge, of a dog that attacks an assistance dog can be prosecuted.

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