Dangerous Dogs: will stronger sanctions work?

BBC News yesterday reported that the government has proposed a number of sentencing options for a fatal dog attack – from five years to life. The consultation for those options is here and runs until 1 September 2013.

However the RSPCA – the people who do know something about the subject – said more needed to be done to stop attacks happening in the first place. Their head of public affairs, David Bowles was quoted as saying:

“Unless you solve this problem of people not being able to control their dogs properly then I still think you’re going to see a rise in dog attacks and dog biting,”

TCC has done some pioneering research in the field of dangerous dogs which is summarised here. As the report shows, ‘control of dogs’ may have different meaning to public bodies and to their owners due to differing values. The report also sets out an approach to behaviour change in this area.

The current consultation process will be used to inform recommendations put forward in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. However there is a danger that legislation will be based on little prior research and the debate will focus just on sanctions and not cover preventative behavioural measures that could also be adopted.

We will be sending the research to the consultation to flag up some of the preventative concerns raised by the RSPCA and hope other organisations also submit similar further insight.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

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