Deed Not Breed Ltd is a NON PROFIT Organisation

Company Registered in England and Wales No. 06325487

If you are worried about your dogs appearance and are considering contacting the police, please ring us first for advice and assistance.

07873 666 778 or 07873 666 779

On Monday 20th August 2012, new sentencing guidelines for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 came into effect.

Many thanks to Trevor Cooper and Nik Starmer-Smith of DogLaw for the following summary.

Sentencing Guidelines for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

For the first time, Courts have been provided with sentencing guidelines for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. These come into effect from 20th August 2012 and mark an increase in sentencing levels from current practice.

According to a press release issued by the Sentencing Council:-

The new guideline will mean more offenders will face jail sentences, more will get community orders and fewer will receive discharges

You can see the full details here

Sentencing Guidelines

In summary, it states:-

Section 3 DDA

For cases under Section 3 where the dog has injured a person (ie. aggravated offences), the following are to be regarded as the starting point:-

Category 1 ie. where there is greater harm and higher culpability

The starting point is 26 weeks prison

Category 2 ie. where there is greater harm and lower culpability, or lesser harm and higher culpability

The starting point is a medium level community order (eg 80-150 hours of unpaid work)

Category 3 ie. lesser harm and lesser culpability

The starting point is a Band B fine (eg 100% of relevant weekly income)

Courts have to take into account various factors to determine which category the particular offence falls within, and then from this starting point the sentence could be greater or lesser than this having regard to aggravating and mitigating factors.

The Court must take into account any potential reduction for a guilty plea.

Ancillary Orders

Courts are reminded that they must consider compensation in all cases where personal injury, loss or damage has resulted from the offence and they must give reasons if they decide not to award compensation.

As to disqualification, the test is whether the owner is a fit and proper person to have custody of a dog.

As to the dog, the Court is reminded that they shall make a destruction order unless satisfied that it would not constitute a danger to public safety and should take into account:-

  • The incident
  • Past behaviour of the dog
  • The owner's character

The alternative to destruction is a Contingent Destruction Order to which the Court may impose conditions.

The guidelines for non aggravated offences provide for less severe penalties and the starting points are:-

  • Category 1 : Medium level community order (eg 80-150 hours of unpaid work)
  • Category 2 : Band B fine (eg 100% of relevant weekly income)
  • Category 3 : Band A fine (eg 50% of relevant weekly income)

The guidance for Ancillary Orders is the same EXCEPT when it discusses destruction as there is no presumption in favour of destruction in a non aggravated case.

Section 1 DDA

The guidelines provide for the following starting points:-

  • Category 1 : Medium level community order (eg. 80-150 hours of unpaid work)
  • Category 2 : Band C fine (eg 150% of relevant weekly income)
  • Category 3 : Band A fine (eg 50% of relevant weekly income)

The guidance on ancillary orders is similar to those for aggravated Section 3 cases EXCEPT that if the Court decides not to order destruction the alternative is to allow the dog to be exempted from the prohibition. Courts are reminded they must not transfer ownership of the dog to another.