What have we achieved?
As a result of Guide Dogs’ Dog Attacks campaign in March 2014, the Government passed the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. This Act covers England and Wales. It reclassifies a dog attack on an assistance dog as an aggravated offence, and penalties include up to three years’ imprisonment. This law came into force in May 2015, and the Sentencing Council has published guidance to support magistrates in sentencing people found guilty of this offence.
In May 2014, The Scottish Parliament introduced a measure which is equivalent to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act. The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act was already in place which empowered dog wardens to be able to issue Dog Control Notices to try and curb anti-social behaviour from dogs. We are currently monitoring the impact of these laws.
To promote responsible dog ownership, Guide Dogs, as part of the Microchipping Alliance, successfully campaigned for all dogs to be microchipped. Since April 2016 all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales are now legally required to have been chipped by the time they are eight weeks old. A law has been in place in Northern Ireland since 2012. Dog owners who have not had their pets microchipped could face a fine of up to £500.