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Dangerous dogs guidelines
Guidelines have been laid down for sentencing of offenders convicted for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The top of the sentencing range for owners allowing their dog to be dangerously out of control and injuring someone has been set at 18 months custody and at the bottom of the range is a discharge (aka a “let-off”). Attacks will be placed into three categories of seriousness depending on the degree of culpability and the harm caused. Efforts by the owner to restrain the dog (as opposed to deliberately encouraging an attack) coupled with only minor injury to a person will draw the offence towards the bottom of the range. This will be the case for most horse and rider attacks which are usually a result of an ill-trained dog running out of control at the sight of a horse with the owner unsuccessfully trying to call it off. The guidance does not even apply to attacks on horses unless a person is also injured (although the guidelines do refer to “injury to other animals” as an aggravating factor if both horse and human are hurt). One can assume that if “only” the horse is injured then the sentence drops even lower. No great deterrent here I fear.