CWU welcomes Sentencing Council guidelines on dangerous dogs, but says more is needed
15th May 2012
The Communication Workers Union today (Tuesday) welcomes new guidance published by the Sentencing Council on how to deal with dangerous dog offences, which will come into force on 20th August. However, the union says that more is needed to tackle the problem of irresponsible dog ownership and that the law must apply on private property where 70 per cent of attacks on postal workers take place.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "These new guidelines from the Sentencing Council are very welcome and will help to level the playing field when it comes to prosecutions. However, the true benefit of the new tougher sentencing regime will not be felt by our members until the law is extended to private property.
"This is one small step forward in tackling the failings of the current system and we now need the government to push ahead with a comprehensive overhaul of dangerous dogs laws to protect victims and encourage more responsible dog ownership."
Dave Joyce, CWU health and safety officer, added: "We welcome the tougher approach that will be taken in future as a result of this new guidance, with more people being jailed and fewer being let off. There is a desperate need for greater consistency in sentencing so in that respect this guidance is also welcome.
"Previously no guidance was issued to local courts so today is major step forward in that respect. We hope this will send a strong message to irresponsible dog owners.
"However, the number of convictions remains worryingly low. Preventative measures are also needed to provide a holistic approach to the problem of dangerous dogs.
"This won't solve the problem of dangerous dogs on its own and it now needs to be combined with changes in the law for a comprehensive solution."
CWU is the biggest union in the communications sector with over 205,000 members. It represents postal and telecom workers who suffer 6,000 dog attacks each year whilst at work. Around 70 per cent of these attacks take place on private property where the law does not apply.
Find out more about the CWU's Bite Back campaign.