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ACPO response to Guide Dogs report showing an increase in the number of attacks on guide dogs

11 Jun 2012

ACPO lead for dangerous dogs responds to research showing that more than eight guide dogs a month are being attacked by other dogs.

ACPO lead for dangerous dogs, Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard, said:

"Dangerous dog attacks on other animals can be frightening for any animal owner, but the impact for those who rely on guide dogs can be especially severe.

"Within the current legislation, such attacks are not necessarily a criminal offence, unless the guide dog owner has also sustained an injury and the attack occurred in a public place. Consequently, it can be difficult to bring a criminal prosecution against people whose dogs have attacked other animals.

“In such circumstances there may be recourse to bring a complaint about out of control dogs to a magistrate in a civil, rather than a criminal, court setting. I would encourage people to come forward to police and report these kind of attacks as we can assist in bringing those complaints forward.

"The law concerning dangerous dogs is sufficiently complex to have required the training of specific Dog Legislation Officers (DLOs) to ensure its proper implementation. Even then, many believe it provides insufficient protection for the public, while the experience of the police service suggests it disappoints victims when they realise the limitations to what the police can achieve. ACPO will be providing, on behalf of the police service, a response to the government’s Dog Control Bill consultation to highlight the difficulties there are in dealing with dangerous dogs.”

The Guide Dogs' press notice can be found by clicking here.

The law concerning dangerous dogs is encapsulated in several separate pieces of legislation from 1871 to the Dangerous Dogs Acts of 1991 and 1997.

The Dogs Act 1871 caters for dog on dog attacks. While this Act does not make such attacks a criminal offence, it does provide for complaints to made on a civil basis in a Magistrates Court.

For more information please contact:

ACPO Press Office
Association of Chief Police Officers