New Changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act: Are They Effective?

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Photo: Kevin Lowery Photography

New changes made to the UK's Dangerous Dogs Act could have far-reaching consequences for dogs and their owners. The law has previously made owners liable for dogs that are "dangerously out of control" on public property, but now the law will apply to dogs on private property as well. The law was changed in order to protect postmen, but it applies to anyone visiting a person's home that has a dog.

While the law was designed to encourage owners to have better control over their dogs both in public and in their own homes, it has the potential to create trouble for even the most responsible dog owner.

The new changes state that a dog does not actually have to be bite in order to be considered dangerous. A person would only have to feel that the dog may injure them. That means that if a dog were to jump up on or bark at a person in excitement, and that person interpreted those actions as aggressive, the dog could be deemed aggressive and the owner fined or arrested and in some cases the dog removed.

Under the new rules, allowing a dog to injure a person carries a potential sentence of up to five  years in jail, a crime that previously carried only a two-year maximum penalty.

The National Animal Welfare Trust encourages owners to be vigilant about their dog's greeting behavior at the door, and to manage their dog at all times when anyone comes to the door. For some owners, this may mean hiring a qualified trainer to help with their dog's behavior, or simply putting the dog away when visitors come.

What are your thoughts on the new changes to the UK's Dangerous Dogs Act? Are they effective, or over the top? Leave your comments below.

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