The RSPCA has welcomed Government moves to introduce tougher sentences for those who allow their dogs to attack other people and animals after new legislation received royal assent in Parliament last week.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill – which also extends dog control laws onto private property as well as public places – will come into force this May.
However, RSPCA’s head of public affairs David Bowles insisted more needs to be done to prevent attacks in the first place.
“Tougher sentences may well act as a deterrent, but reactive legislation on its own will not reduce dog bites and attacks,” he said. “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 the guidance given to enforcers is unclear and will not help them exercise their new powers.”
Mr Bowles said the animal welfare charity was also pleased by the Government’s commitment to reviewing the new legislation in three years.
“We hope this will lead to an improvement in dog control and reduction in dog bites, but remain to be convinced.”