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Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill receives royal assent

13 Mar 2014

Owners whose dogs attack guide dogs face up to three years in prison under a new law passed today.

Guide Dogs was a driving force behind the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which received Royal Assent and became law this morning.

An attack on an assistance dog is now an aggravated offence which carries the possibility of a prison sentence for irresponsible dog owners. The law also contains measures to force owners to curb the behaviour of out of control dogs, which could help prevent attacks on guide dogs.

Guide Dog's Chief Executive Richard Leaman said: "Our campaigners and supporters have fought long and hard for legislation which recognises the truly devastating impact of an attack on a guide dog, and we are delighted that irresponsible dog owners can now be properly brought to account.

"An attack on a guide dog can rob someone with sight loss of their independence and freedom, leaving them virtually housebound.  With an average of 10 guide dogs currently being attacked every month, we are now looking to the police to fully utilise their new powers to deter these attacks, and prevent them from happening in the first place."

Guide Dogs is very grateful to the campaigners, politicians and members of the public who have helped to bring about this law, which is a major step forward in protecting the safety of our life-changing guide dog partnerships.