Dangerous Dogs laws could mean there are no ‘innocent’ trespassers
Dog owners will be safe from prosecution under revised dog laws if their dog attacks someone trespassing in their home, even if in an incredible twist, the “intruder” is doing a good deed.
The Government is currently updating the controversial 1991 dangerous dogs act which now has a serious urgency after recent attacks including 14 year old Jade Anderson who was mauled to death by dogs while in her friend’s house.
Ministers have agreed that dogs cannot be expected to ascertain the intentions of those entering a property before reacting. In other words how can a dog know a burglar from a good Samaritan?
The current law only covers dog attacks in public places and private areas where animals are banned from like a neighbour’s garden.
The new changes would extend the scrope to enable prosectution against a dog who injures or attacks someone or acts aggressively in a private place where they are permitted to be, such as an owner’s home.
However it gets tricky when it is outside the home such as a neighbours graden. A spokes person for the Food and Rural Affairs committee said that "A child retrieving a ball from a garden, or a neighbour retrieving garden cuttings, should be protected from dog attacks,"
"Such a distinction reflects the higher likelihood of a trespasser inside or entering a dwelling having malign intent," the response added.
But it confirmed, under the government's plans, no offence would be committed if a dog was "dangerously out of control in relation to a trespasser who is in, or in the process of entering a dwelling, regardless of the intention of the trespasser".
It is important to note that under the current Government’s plans no offense would be committed if a dog was "dangerously out of control in relation to a trespasser who is in, or in the process of entering a dwelling, regardless of the intention of the trespasser".