I stumbled across this post recently on the website of Conservative MP Rob Halfon:
I found the post really interesting because I think it shows really well how misguided and misinformed our law makers our. There is little doubt that the current dog laws and indeed the suggested proposals are inadequate. I fail to see for example how making micro chipping of dogs compulsory would prevent attacks such as this but I feel it is wrong for any changes to concentrate on punitive measures rather than preventative. I find it quite an old fashioned almost biblical "eye for an eye" approach. I am sure that it brings the dog bite victim a great deal of satisfaction to know the owner is clapped in irons and the dog has been destroyed but my view is that justice isn't the same as revenge. Unfortunately that's what so many of these campaigns seem to centre on. My view (and one shared by the RSPCA and many other leading bodies) remains that the law shouldn’t concentrate of punishing the dog owners after the event but look at ways to prevent such attacks. As I have said before on this site what is actually needed are tougher laws relating to and restricting the ownership of dogs in the first place.
I find it just as interesting to read the pledge from the MP that “We must make sure Brandon gets the compensation he deserves”. I'll leave aside the fact that due to reforms brought in by the government on 1st April 2013 Brandon is likely to receive less compensation then he would have at the start of the year and I'll just ask how exactly is this to be achieved? How will the right honourable Mr Halfon make sure that Brandon gets the compensation he deserves?
Brandon could obviously bring a civil claim against the dog owner but unfortunately unless the owner was insured there is little point and he is unlikely to recover any more than the £250 already awarded. Dog bite claims under the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) scheme have never been possible unless they can be shown to be deliberate and given the massive cut backs made to CICA awards recently I doubt any new categories will be considered.
The fact is you can never truly predict how dogs will act. Brandon was attacked by a black Labrador which no one would ever consider “dangerous”. The issue here is with an irresponsible dog owner. A responsible dog owner would have ensured the dog was trained and done all they could to prevent the attack but even that might not have stopped it. However if it had happened the responsible dog owner would have been insured and Brandon would indeed get the compensation he deserves. Again though, given the governments all out attack on “compensation culture” and the lawyers who help facilitate it I wonder if anyone would be brave enough to pass law which would ensure making such a claim was made easier.