A WIGAN dad whose son was savaged by a dog today welcomed tough new sanctions against owners of out-of-control pets.
Latest guidelines mean that owners will now face longer behind bars and fewer offences will not be penalised.
The Sentencing Council, which sets the guidelines for judges and magistrates, wants to ensure that courts use their full powers when dealing with offenders.
Owners who allow their dogs to be dangerously out of control injuring someone can now face 18 months in custody compared to 12 months previously. Kirk Greenall, of Standish, father of nine-year-old dog attack victim Sonnie Harker-Greenall, welcomed the tougher sentences but said they could go even further.
He said: “In severe cases owners should go to jail.
“It is their responsibility, a dangerous dog is a weapon like a knife or an axe and can do horrific damage. Substantial sentences should come into play maybe even longer than 18 months.
“I agree that owners who do make the mistake once should not be allowed to keep dogs again, if they can just get another one it shows they have no remorse for what happened.”
Stricter measures will also allow the courts to ban irresponsible owners from keeping dogs, order dangerous dogs to be put down and also order compensation to be paid to victims.
As part of the new guidelines more offenders will face sentences or community orders and fewer will receive discharges from courts in England and Wales.
A spokesperson for the Sentencing Council said: “With increasing numbers of convictions for offences in recent years, the new guidelines will help ensure courts use their full powers when dealing with offenders.
“They are aimed to provide clear guidance to judges and magistrates to encourage consistency in sentencing and appropriate sentences for owners of dangerous dogs.”
Six dangerous dog offences are covered by the guidelines including owners in charge of a dangerously out of control dog in a public or private place and possession, breeding or selling of a prohibited dog.