Dog attacks are on the rise. Approximately 250,000 dog bites occur each year in the UK. Latest figures from the NHS show that serious dog attacks i.e. attacks by illegal breeds, or attacks by legal breeds that result in severe injuries have risen by over 60% in the last decade.
Only recently there was news of a 73 year old Middlesbrough woman dying after being bitten by a police dog in her home.
It is not only illegal breeds such as Pitbull terriers that attack humans; any dogs are capable of a vicious bite. In fact, latest research shows that sausage dogs have the highest levels of aggression – yet their small size makes them less dangerous to humans when they snap.
On 13th March 2014 the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill received royal assent. This bill makes significant changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act which in turn will have a big impact on the responsibilities and obligations of dog owners in England and Wales.
These new provisions mean that the breed and behaviour of the dogs in question are no longer the paramount considerations for the court in deciding whether the dog should be destroyed or seized by authorities; the behaviour of the dog’s owner will also come under scrutiny when the court makes this decision. This should encourage owners of dogs to act more responsibly, if they do, they will be much more likely to keep their dog in their possession. This change in the law is designed to emphasise that dog owners have a huge part to play in the behaviour of dogs and could be seen as government recognising that even dogs deemed to be ‘bad’ due to their breed type, can be safe if they are under the control of sensible and responsible owners.
Another key change being brought in by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill is that it will now be an offence for a dog to be out of control in a private residence as well as in a public place; this law applies to all dogs, not just dangerous breeds. Previously an owner, or person in charge of a dog, was only guilty of an offence under the Dangerous Dogs Act if a dog was dangerously out of control in a public place, or a private place if the dog was not permitted to be there.
This change comes after a number of high profile incidents of dog attacks in the home. For example, the case of Eliza Mae Mullane, the six day old baby who was taken from her pram and mauled to death by the family’s pet dog in February 2014 and Jade Anderson, the 14 year old killed in a dog attack at a friend’s home in March 2013.
Veitch Penny are specialists in helping people claim compensation for personal injuries sustained after a dog attack. Although some dog attacks happen within the home, many are inflicted by strangers, friends and neighbours dogs. If you suffer injuries following a dog attack, compensation may be recoverable. Call now, and trust our team of quality, caring solicitors to fight your case after a dog attack.
If you or someone you know has been injured by an animal and wish to discuss your situation in a free, no obligation chat please contact us on 01392 344800, or request a call back.