A WEARSIDE MP has welcomed news that dog owners who allow their pets to attack people face tougher prison sentences – but has called on the Government to go further.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson has been calling for tougher controls since 13-year-old Meghan Reynolds was mauled by a German shepherd dog in Herrington Country Park last year.
The teenager underwent four hours of surgery and needed 48 stitches in facial wounds.
Under new measures announced this week, maximum prison sentences in England and Wales for allowing a dog to fatally attack someone have increased from two years to 14, while the term for causing injury is up from two years to five.
Sharon Hodgson welcomed the tougher stance but said ministers had missed a trick by not introducing Dog Control Notices, which would compel owners to muzzle their animals in public.
“While stronger sentences are welcome, my concern was always preventing attacks happening in the first place,” she said.
“There has been some progress on that, but I still think that Ministers were wrong to ignore the concerted campaigning, both inside and outside Parliament, for the introduction of Dog Control Notices like they have in Scotland, to support owners in addressing aggressive behaviour at the earliest possible opportunity.”