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New Law To hit Dangerous Dog Owners

13th May 2014

* New powers To control Dangerous Dogs
* Longer Prison Sentences For Irresponsible Dog Owners
* New Powers For Police and Local Authorities
* Laws already in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) - which represents the largest number of dog attack victims in the UK - is welcoming tough new dog control laws introduced today.

The CWU campaigned for seven years to secure changes to the Dangerous Dog Act, during which time 30,000 postal workers were attacked by dogs suffering near-fatal injuries.

The union's high-profile 'Bite-Back' campaign, supported by animal charities, the police, trade unions, employers, vets, medics and dog trainers first won changes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Today sees changes to the Act for England and Wales.

Irresponsible dog owners will now face longer prison sentences for the actions of their animal, and be liable for prosecution regardless of where an attack takes place. New preventative powers for police and local authorities will ensure they can act early, to help stop dog attacks before they happen.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “For too long, postal workers have been subjected to reckless dog ownership leaving them vulnerable at work and unprotected when a dog attack occurred. We have seen some truly terrible incidences where postal workers have been left with life-threatening injuries because of out-of-control dogs yet are not entitled to any compensation. I am delighted that after a long and hard campaign, workers around the country will now be properly protected.”

CWU's national health and safety officer Dave Joyce, who spearheaded the 'Bite Back' campaign, said: "This is a historic day for all workers who over the years have been victims of dog bites because of careless owners. With a huge loophole in the law finally closing past immunity from prosecution enjoyed by irresponsible dog owners now disappears. New tougher penalties and prison sentences come into force today, which is a huge victory after seven years of campaigning.

“However, there is still work to be done. We will now focus on ensuring there is effective, consistence enforcement of irresponsible dog ownership and an increased public awareness of the rights of workers when carrying out their duties on private land."

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