A year on from mandatory microchipping of dogs in England and Wales (and in the context of a 76% in the number of people hospitalised with injuries sustained from dog attacks in the past decade), the aim of this forum is to assess the way forward for promoting responsible pet ownership and the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 should that prove unsuccessful.
Delegates will examine antisocial behaviour and dog ownership, discuss successful approaches across the UK – such as the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act - share best practice and the latest thinking in engaging with owners and as well as debate the challenges of keeping the public safe from ‘out of control’ dogs.
Dogs Resemble their Owners
Promoting Responsible Dog Ownership, Early Intervention Measures and Protecting the Animal
Sessions will examine the effectiveness of preventing dog attacks and antisocial behaviour through education and outreach both with owners and through schools and colleges to increase awareness of safe and appropriate behaviour around dogs, as well as build on previous Government funded community campaigns.
Delegates will assess the impact of Community Protection Notices and Public Space Protection Orders to tackle low-level antisocial behaviour and prevent escalation into more serious offences. Time will also be paid to the potential challenges facing the introduction of a national database of dog attacks able to be shared across relevant agencies to encourage collaboration and early intervention.
Enforcement – The Very Long (and Padded) Arm of the Law
Successful Approaches to Tackling Dangerous Dogs and Associated Anti-Social Behaviour
Sessions will focus on the successes and failures of breed specific legislation (BSL), how effective new law-enforcement measures, including Dog Control Orders, have been in reducing incidents of dog attacks, and what future strategies enforcement agencies might need to tackle status and weapon dogs.
Attendees discuss the implications of local authority budget cuts on the provision of animal wardens and the enforcement of Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) legislation, options to give officers greater discretion on when to seize dogs, as well as ways to encourage multi-agency collaboration between the Police, PSCO’s, Local Authorities, social workers, health professionals and others.
Prosecution, Sentencing & Animal Welfare
Appropriate and Proportionate Responses to Dangerous and Out of Control Dogs
In the context of sentencing guidelines, delegates will look at options to increase successful convictions for dog-related offences, the future priorities for sentencing and the extent to which the revised guidelines are likely to impact the instances of attacks and crimes. The morning will also consider steps for safeguarding the welfare of seized animals, how to improve the rehoming process and how to reduce the cost of kennelling and unnecessary stress for dogs.