Postal workers’ union criticises dog owner sentence after ‘horrific’ attackHealth & Safety September 29 2017
The Communication Workers Union has criticised a court sentence for an irresponsible dog owner whose Doberman dogs savagely mauled a Boston postwoman, leaving her with life-changing injuries in an attack which could have resulted in death according to the union.
Postwoman Sharron Singer was on her round in July when she was attacked by two Doberman dogs in the village of Wrangle near Boston.
Sharron suffered 19 bites, some of which were very serious injuries to muscles, tendons and bones and she is still having surgery for her injuries.
The dog owner was charged for an aggravated offence under Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, for having a dog dangerously out of control.
After hearing his guilty plea, the court sentenced the owner to one year of probation, 200 hours of community service and ordered him to pay the victim compensation of £1,000 in instalments of £100 a month. The dogs were returned to the owner with a court order that they are muzzled in public.
The news that the dogs were not to be destroyed was met with incredulity by the union and amongst postal worker colleagues at the Boston Delivery Office, where victim Sharron and her husband Dave both work.
CWU national health and safety officer Dave Joyce said: “To say our members at Boston are angry is an understatement.” He added that “3,000 postal workers are attacked by dogs every year and we’ve seen a number of really bad attacks just recently.
“The CWU fought for seven years to get the Dangerous Dogs Act strengthened and extended to protect our members from attacks on private property and whilst we commend the police for expediting the investigation and we welcome the prompt prosecution – a prosecution that wouldn’t have happened prior to 2014 when the CWU got the law changed – this sentence doesn’t go far enough.”
Dave Joyce added: “There have been two Sentencing Council reviews following CWU pressure, but still the courts are inconsistent when handing down sentences and ancillary orders. We need deterrents to be effective and to raise public awareness.
“The court has the power to issue destruction orders on the dogs involved and can disqualify the convicted owner from keeping dogs for a number of years up to a life ban, but astoundingly, this court failed to do either.
“The court did order that the dogs be muzzled in public, which is good as far as it goes, but the attack on Sharron took place on private property whilst she was delivering the mail. A risk, therefore, continues to exist with visitors to the property where the dogs are kept and that’s a concern.”
Dave Joyce concluded: “Some owners voluntarily destroy dogs after such a savage attack. This obviously didn’t happen either.”
- Under the revised DDA effective from May 2014, following the CWU’s successful “Bite-Back” campaign, the law was extended to apply on private property as well as public places and tougher sentences were introduced, which mean that dog owners can face jail sentences of up to 14 years for fatal dog attacks and a maximum of five years for injury-causing dog attacks and /or unlimited fines.