ACPO response to Guide Dogs report showing an increase in the number of attacks on guide dogs
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.”
Notes to Editors
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.
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The ACPO Press Office can be contacted via 020 7084 8946/47/48 (office hours) or via 07803 903686 (out of office hours).
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is an independent, professionally led strategic body. In the public interest and, in equal and active partnership with Government and partner agencies, ACPO leads and co-ordinates the direction and development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In times of national need ACPO, on behalf of all chief officers, co-ordinates the strategic policing response.
ACPO’s 311 members consist of 223 chief police officers from the home forces of assistant chief constable rank (commanders in the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police) and above, plus 60 senior police staff members from the 44 forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Non home forces such as British Transport Police have 25 chief police officer members and there are three members from the Service Police.