The environment secretary, Owen Paterson has announced that following an online public consultation the government will look to impose a maximum sentence of 14 years for dog owners whose pets kill. They are also proposing raising the penalty for the owner of a dog which causes injury to five years. A maximum three-year sentence will apply if a guide dog is killed or injured by a dangerous dog. 91% of the 3,180 responses to the consultation wanted the maximum sentences increased. The changes will be introduced to the antisocial behaviour, crime and policing bill when it reaches the committee stage in the House of Lords. The new sentences should come into force next year if the bill is passed. The proposals would mean that dog owners would face similar penalties to motorists whose dangerous driving results in a death. Paterson said: "The maximum penalty of causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years' imprisonment and the maximum penalty for causing actual bodily harm is five years' imprisonment. "The government proposes, therefore, to increase the maximum penalties for aggravated offences under Section 3 of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act in England and Wales to 14 years' imprisonment if a person dies as a result of a dog attack, five years' imprisonment if a person is injured by a dog attack, and three years' imprisonment if an assistance dog either dies or is injured by a dog attack." Householders or business owners whose pets attack burglars will not be covered by the new sentences.
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