As a clampdown on dangerous animals a new UK law on pets ministers are trying to pass will prosecute dog owners if an intruder is attacked and bitten by their dog.
Dog owners might have to tie up their pets to stop them attacking burglars, police have warned – amid growing controversy over a clampdown on dangerous animals.
The Association of Chief Police Officers say planned amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act could leave householders ‘liable to prosecution’ if their dog bites a burglar while they are out.
Ministers want to close a loophole in the law that makes it difficult to prosecute dog attacks that take place on private property.
The move – which will be included in next week’s Queen’s Speech – follows a string of attacks on children, postmen, and health visitors on private land.
The proposals will include a defense for people whose dogs attack a burglar while they are at home. But critics warn the defense will not protect owners if a burglar is attacked while they are out, or if the attack takes place in the garden or an outbuilding.
The loophole in the proposals will leave dog owners open to potential fines of up to £5,000 – or even a two-year jail sentence – if their pet attacks an intruder while they are not at home.
Now Acpo, the organization which represents senior police officers, has warned that the plans will favor burglars.
In a letter to MPs they said the police ‘would rather the householder was given a defense in law’ to prevent prosecution if a dog attacks a burglar while they are out.
They added: ‘The consequences would be that any individual leaving their dog in their home whilst they go out may be liable to prosecution should their home be burgled whilst they are away. We are confident that this is not what the Government had in mind.’
The Dogs Trust has also criticized the proposals, saying: ‘If a trespasser is on private land it is nonsensical to criminalize a dog owner if that trespasser should be injured by the dog.
‘Surely a trespasser must take some responsibility for their unlawful actions. Dog owners should only face criminal liability if the victim is present lawfully.’
Government officials have confirmed that homeowners would not be immune from prosecution if a ‘dangerously out of control’ dog attacked a burglar in their home.
But the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said ministers were still looking at ways to ensure dog owners would not be penalized for being burgled.
Source: Daily Mail