Owners of dogs that attack and kill someone could face life in prison under new proposals for England and Wales. Sixteen people have been killed by dogs in the UK since 2005.
The proposals also aim to increase penalties for owners of dogs injure someone or kills a guide dog. New jail terms ranging from three years to a maximum of ten are on the table.
There’s one group of people who are looking at the proposals with a great deal of interest and that’s the country’s posties. Since April 2011, there have been over 5,500 dog attacks on Royal Mail postmen and women, some leading to a permanent disabling injury. Attacks have resulted in the loss of 4,100 working days due to injuries.
Royal Mail recently held the UK’s first Dog Awareness Week, working alongside the Communication Workers Union (CWU) with support from a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Dogs Trust, DEFRA and Blue Cross to raise awareness of dog attacks on Royal Mail’s postmen and women and appeal to dog owners to work with them to help keep animals under control when the postman calls.
Currently, legal protection against attacks by dogs does not extend ‘beyond the garden gate’, this is a particular problem for postmen and women, who each visit hundreds of private addresses every day on their delivery rounds, so it’s no surprise that Royal Mail are welcoming the Government’s commitment to amend the previous legislation to ensure our posties will be protected when they enter private property including a customer’s garden.
We know there are millions of responsible dog owners in the country, it’s just a shame a few can’t control their pets and let them run amok.
I think this is a good decision, as I’ve always felt the dogs get too much stick over attacks. In my eyes, it’s about how the dog is brought up. Growing up, we’ve had two different breeds of dog and both have been brought up with love, care and trained properly. When we scold our dog, we don’t hit her. We simply tell her in a firm voice “bad dog” and she sulks in a corner (usually near me because I’m the person in the family she listens to).
I’ve seen various strangers treat dogs differently though, notably Staffordshire Bull Terriers which are stereotypically a chav’s dog where I live because of their reputation. If people learned to treat animals right instead of being violent which in turn makes the dogs temperament become more vicious, there wouldn’t be so many horrible stories of dog attacks.
Down here while we get problems with dogs we get a lot more problems with such as Sea Gulls. Just recently in the National Press was an item about the Post Office refusing to deliver the mail to a road in Perranporth because Gulls kept attacking the Posties.
No amount of talking nice to Gulls will ever work.
This increasingly looks like an exercise in prevarication by the ConDem alliance.
It is a disgrace that simple legislation was not enacted years ago and the length of sentencing is really a secondary issue.
What matters is getting private land included and a duty of care & criminal liability placed on owners of animals that represent a significant danger to the public or people going about their legitimate business (e.g. postal workers).
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