Tough new penalties for dangerous dog owners welcomed by East Lancs MP

Blackburn toddler Ava-Jayne Marie Corless

Blackburn toddler Ava-Jayne Marie Corless

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

TOUGH new penalties for dog owners whose pets attack people have been welcomed by East Lancashire MPs.

They follow a string of child fatalities involving canine savaging, including the February death of Blackburn toddler Ava-Jayne Marie Corless.

The town’s MP Jack Straw, Burnley’s Gordon Birtwistle and Pendle’s Andrew Stephenson all said the new laws which came into force today were the right move.

The politicians said they hoped the long prison sentences would send a message to irresponsible owners.

The maximum prison sentence for allowing a dog to carry out a fatal attack was increased from two to 14 years.

Allowing a dog to cause injury can now be punished by five years in prison, up from two.

For the first time owners will be prosecuted regardless of where an attack takes place, even in their own home.

On February 10, 11-month old Ava Jane of Emily Street Blackburn was found mauled to death by the family pit bull terrier type dog.

Her mother Chloe King and her boyfriend Lee Wright are on bail pending further enquiries after being initially arrested on suspicion of child neglect and manslaughter.

Jade Anderson, 14, died in March 2013 at a house in Atherton after being mauled by four dogs.

In October, their owner Beverley Concannon was given a 16-week suspended jail term after admitting causing suffering to the animals.

Labour MP Mr Straw said: “These tough new penalties are a good idea.

“Too many dog owners see their animals not as pets but as means of intimidating others, “I hope this send out a clear message that such irresponsibility will not be tolerated.”

Tory Mr Stephenson, whose mother Ann was bitten by dog in 2011, said: “This is the right thing to do. Dog owners need to know they cannot let their animals roam dangerously and attack people.”

LibDem Mr Birtwistle, who has been bitten several times, said: “These tough new penalties are absolutely right. The irresponsible ownership of dangerous dogs can have tragic and fatal consequences.”

Comments (7)

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11:24pm Tue 13 May 14

wilddog says...

Hang on a second please. Not nice to have a dog attack. However if ya kill someone in a car ya can now get a max of 5 years? Same thing aint it? Murder?
Hang on a second please. Not nice to have a dog attack. However if ya kill someone in a car ya can now get a max of 5 years? Same thing aint it? Murder? wilddog
  • Score: 0

11:37pm Tue 13 May 14

noddy57 says...

not before time and long overdue,
not before time and long overdue, noddy57
  • Score: 8

11:51pm Tue 13 May 14

woolywords says...

All well and good setting an high tariff on a crime, trouble is, you now have to find a Judge to pass them down! When did a persistent burglar get more than 4 years and 4 months, instead of the 14 years, as is clearly set out in the law?

The word, pandering, comes to mind here.... What say you, Horace?
All well and good setting an high tariff on a crime, trouble is, you now have to find a Judge to pass them down! When did a persistent burglar get more than 4 years and 4 months, instead of the 14 years, as is clearly set out in the law? The word, pandering, comes to mind here.... What say you, Horace? woolywords
  • Score: 7

12:49am Wed 14 May 14

Unhappycyclist says...

Simply license owners of dogs. The government can do this, and set criteria. I suggest the following are taken into consideration:

1: Diameter of dog's head versus width of shoulders.

2: weight of chain in dog's lead.

3: Measure of shininess of the dog owner's tracksuit.

4: Diameter of owner's partner's earrings.

5: Degree of social worker involvement with the family.

6: Amount of benefits the owners get.

7: The distance that the dog's daily walks exceed the distance between the owner's home and the off-licence.

And before anyone gets on their high horse measure yourselves against these criteria.
Simply license owners of dogs. The government can do this, and set criteria. I suggest the following are taken into consideration: 1: Diameter of dog's head versus width of shoulders. 2: weight of chain in dog's lead. 3: Measure of shininess of the dog owner's tracksuit. 4: Diameter of owner's partner's earrings. 5: Degree of social worker involvement with the family. 6: Amount of benefits the owners get. 7: The distance that the dog's daily walks exceed the distance between the owner's home and the off-licence. And before anyone gets on their high horse measure yourselves against these criteria. Unhappycyclist
  • Score: 5

1:06am Wed 14 May 14

Unhappycyclist says...

Yes, I meet these criteria:

1: Less than 200%.

2: None, it's an extendable one.

3: Wouldn't wear one, they're for rappers, chavs and scum.

4: Prefer dangly, elegant ones, they're sexy not slaggy.

5: never been an issue.

6: I work!

7: by 3 or 4 times, twice a day.


6:: None and proud of it.

There you go.
Yes, I meet these criteria: 1: Less than 200%. 2: None, it's an extendable one. 3: Wouldn't wear one, they're for rappers, chavs and scum. 4: Prefer dangly, elegant ones, they're sexy not slaggy. 5: never been an issue. 6: I work! 7: by 3 or 4 times, twice a day. 6:: None and proud of it. There you go. Unhappycyclist
  • Score: 5

4:00pm Wed 14 May 14

Catkin says...

This is a step toward addressing such a serious issue, however, I feel it's not enough...a return to dog licensing should be implemented. All dog breeders and owners whose dogs have puppies, should be required to register those animals. As with buying and selling on a car, the registration of the dog should follow the animal. I am a firm believer that very few (if any) dogs start off 'bad', but it is the fault of owners. Inexperienced people who see an animal like a Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Mastiff, Staffie or otherwise, as status symbols of power and aggression, that have no idea (or intention for that matter), of training, caring for an loving/nurturing the animal (not pet), are the real problem. Dogs that need lots of exercise and are intelligent, need to stimulated mentally. If cooped up in a small inappropriate house with little outside space (except a square of concrete), shown little love or kindness, not exercised sufficiently and taught to be aggressive, will be just that. Boredom and frustration are also a huge factor leading to a dog lashing out with the one thing they have - teeth. Children should not be left unattended with any dog, regardless of size or breed. Not only would a return to licensing help with dangerous dogs, but it would also help monitor animals that are abandoned and mistreated. I believe a license should be required for the ownership of all animals and birds to be honest. They should not have to cost a lot (if anything) - it should not be about profit, but about tracking people that behave in a manner that gives them no place owning an animal and would make people accountable.
This is a step toward addressing such a serious issue, however, I feel it's not enough...a return to dog licensing should be implemented. All dog breeders and owners whose dogs have puppies, should be required to register those animals. As with buying and selling on a car, the registration of the dog should follow the animal. I am a firm believer that very few (if any) dogs start off 'bad', but it is the fault of owners. Inexperienced people who see an animal like a Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Mastiff, Staffie or otherwise, as status symbols of power and aggression, that have no idea (or intention for that matter), of training, caring for an loving/nurturing the animal (not pet), are the real problem. Dogs that need lots of exercise and are intelligent, need to stimulated mentally. If cooped up in a small inappropriate house with little outside space (except a square of concrete), shown little love or kindness, not exercised sufficiently and taught to be aggressive, will be just that. Boredom and frustration are also a huge factor leading to a dog lashing out with the one thing they have - teeth. Children should not be left unattended with any dog, regardless of size or breed. Not only would a return to licensing help with dangerous dogs, but it would also help monitor animals that are abandoned and mistreated. I believe a license should be required for the ownership of all animals and birds to be honest. They should not have to cost a lot (if anything) - it should not be about profit, but about tracking people that behave in a manner that gives them no place owning an animal and would make people accountable. Catkin
  • Score: 0

3:52pm Sat 17 May 14

woodgreensue says...

Too little too late, how many adults and children have been killed and maimed before this has to happen. Close the puppy farms, Limit the number of breeders, nothing will stop this happening again, People will still breed dangerous statue dogs, the dogs and the innocent will suffer and the owners will get away with it and go out and get another dog.
Too little too late, how many adults and children have been killed and maimed before this has to happen. Close the puppy farms, Limit the number of breeders, nothing will stop this happening again, People will still breed dangerous statue dogs, the dogs and the innocent will suffer and the owners will get away with it and go out and get another dog. woodgreensue
  • Score: 0

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