Owners who deliberately condition their dog to be aggressive will now face harsher sentencing from judges.
If an out of control dog kills a person, its owner or carer at the time could be sentenced to between six and 14 years in prison if they are deemed to have “high culpability” for the attack. This is in an effort to stop dogs being used as weapons, and deter owners of the four UK banned breeds.
People who have already being banned from owning dogs will face the harshest penalties if later convicted in a dog attack case.
These guidelines are an update to the new legislation bought in in 2014, and will be effective as of July 2016.
District Judge Richard Williams, a member of the Sentencing Council, said: “We know that the majority of dog owners are responsible and ensure their pets do not put anyone in danger, but there are some irresponsible owners whose dogs do put people at risk of injury and in some cases even death.”